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Gambhir hammers off-colour England XI

A day after being left out of the Indian team, Gautam Gambhir hit back with a dominating hundred. Eng 10/1 & 238 (Prez XI 342/8 dec)

india Updated: Feb 24, 2006 19:38 IST

Gautam Gambhir overcame the disappointment of being axed from India's Test side to take a century off England's attack in a three-day tour game on Friday.

The left-handed opener made 108 a day after the selectors picked Wasim Jaffar ahead of him to open India's innings with Virender Sehwag in the first Test starting in Nagpur on March 1.

Suresh Raina celebrated his inclusion in the Test side with 62 as the Board President's XI scored 342 for eight declared in reply to England's 238 on the second day.

The tourists, trailing by 104 runs on the first innings, were 10-1 in their second knock by stumps.

England's bowlers toiled through the day under oppressive heat in their last practice match before the three back-to-back Tests.

Gambhir, who hit 15 boundaries, put on 64 for the second wicket with Dhiraj Jadhav and 86 for the third with Raina.

England paid dearly for two missed chances by wicket-keeper Geraint Jones, who dropped Gambhir down the leg-side off Steve Harmison and then failed to stump Raina off Monty Panesar.

Harmison provided the first break before lunch when he had Jadhav edging a catch to Jones as the hosts moved from their overnight 93-1 to 187-2 by lunch.

Gambhir, who reached his hundred by slashing Panesar for his 14th boundary, fell soon after when he cut a wide ball from Andrew Flintoff to Andrew Strauss at point.

Left-arm spinner Panesar, the first Sikh player in England's senior squad, forced Raina to hole out to Ian Blackwell at mid-off soon after tea.

The second new ball reduced the hosts from 279-4 to 313-7 as Flintoff bowled Subramaniam Badrinath for zero and Harmison had captain Venugopal Rao (25) and Dinesh Karthick caught in the slips.

The hosts declared after Vikram Rajvir Singh, who put on 29 for the eighth wicket with Romesh Powar, was bowled by Flintoff.

England's 16-man touring squad has been wrecked with injuries and illness, the main worry being captain Michael Vaughan's troublesome knee.

Vaughan was given a cortisone injection to speed up recovery and make him fit in time for the first Test.

Star batsman Kevin Pietersen is suffering from a back strain, fast bowler Simon Jones and off-spinner Shaun Udal are recovering from stomach bugs and all-rounder Paul Collingwood has been afflicted with a back spasm.

England 1st innings: 238

Board President's XI:

W Jaffer lbw b Blackwell 48
G Gambhir c Strauss b Flintoff 108
D Jadhav c Jones b Harmison 20
S Raina c Blackwell b Panesar 62
V Rao c Flintoff b Harmison 25
S Badrinath b Flintoff 0
D Kaarthick c Trescothick b Harmison 19
R Powar not out 23
VRV Singh b Flintoff 13
Extras (b-20, lb-4) 24
Total (for 8 wkts decl) 342

England 2nd innings:

M Trescothick batting 4
A Strauss c Raina b Patel 2
M Hoggard batting 4
Total (for one wkt, in 8 overs) 10

First Published: Feb 24, 2006 13:29 IST