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Inexperience shows in Indian win

Sourav Ganguly probably accompanied the drinks trolley onto the field after a long, long time. Perhaps the last time he did that was on the Australian tour of 1992.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2003 13:17 IST
Saibal Bose
Saibal Bose

Sourav Ganguly probably accompanied the drinks trolley onto the field after a long, long time. Perhaps the last time he did that was on the Australian tour of 1992. Apart from the drinks, Ganguly definitely had some words of wisdom for Virender Sehwag, who was standing in for him as the India captain.

The TVS Cup game against Bangladesh here on Wednesday was a soft debut for Sehwag as captain but he began it wrong by losing the toss. For the first time in this tri-series, India were asked to field in the afternoon heat.

That, however, was a minor aberration, as India did what was expected of them --- win this one. The only thing was that the middle-order collapse that started off with Mohammad Kaif's run out could have been avoided, but India overhauled Bangladesh's 207 with four wickets and 7.1 overs to spare.

It was never meant to be anything but an Indian victory, although lesser batsmen could have been used. The point to note is that yet another youngster made his mark in the international arena. Gautam Gambhir scored a stylish 71, peppered with his favourite cover-drives and the pulls he plays so well.

The 21-year-old from Delhi was fast too, his maiden 50 coming in just 58 balls. The left-hander, who depends more on timing than power, was very elegant during his 89-ball stay.

Gambhir would have liked staying till the end. A rare wrong judgement cost him his wicket. Shaping for a cut off Alok Kapali, he edged to wicket-keeper Khaled Mashud.

He will be satisfied with his innings, having lost his wicket cheaply in the earlier two innings despite looking good. He will be happy too, at having kept a promise that he had made to himself - staying at the wicket long enough to settle down.

The spadework for his innings was, however, done by his stand-in skipper. Sehwag was not in the best of forms --- playing and missing repeatedly ---but was still particularly harsh on Tareq Aziz, hitting the Bangladesh seamer for four boundaries in one over.

He lost his wicket trying to hit off-spinner Mohammad Rafiq out of the ground, the catch taken at the long-off fence by Aziz.

Sehwag's 43 came in 44 balls and ensured that Parthiv Patel, who came in at one down, and Gambhir, would not be under pressure. Patel collected his 27 runs through cuts and nudges before he thought he should do a Sehwag. In the first attempt, the ball did not go very far.

Trying to put Kapali away, he missed the line and was caught leg-before. Kaif, Sanjay Bangar and Gambhir departed in the space of 14 runs.

However, the total required was not enough to worry India by that time. Kale was out within sight of victory, but the inevitable came about through Dinesh Mongia and Ajit Agarkar.

Though, at 30, Bangar was the oldest player and 29-year-old Kale was making his debut, the Indian team was very inexperienced. India rested Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan in addition to Ganguly.

Kaif was to sit out according to Tuesday's plans, but on Wednesday morning, Yuvraj preferred to rest instead.

That Bangladesh got past 200 for the second consecutive time after 16 innings was mainly due to a slow yet timely 50 by Habibul Bashar. But the Indian bowlers were quite ordinary.

Salvi, who had a fairly good debut game last Friday, was brought down to earth in his first over, conceding 11 runs. A wicket later on was little consolation. Agarkar's three for 36 was hardly a reason to celebrate either.


First Published: Apr 16, 2003 13:29 IST