Munaf humiliates Ashes champions
Fiery 5-wicket haul from the rookie speedster destroyed the England XI. Prez XI 93/1 (Eng 238)Updated: Feb 23, 2006 18:50 IST
Ideal batting conditions, short boundaries and warm weather - one could not have asked for a better setting for the Ashes champion to stamp its authority and supremacy in India.
Taking on the unfancied Board President’s XI in their second and final warm-up match, England sans Vaughan, got a jolt out of the blue when its star-studded batting order collapsed against some accurate and incisive bowling by the underdogs.
Rookie speedster Munaf Patel - hailed by many as the next best thing on the fast bowling front - humiliated the Ashes stars taking 5 wickets for 59 runs. He knocked off two power-hitters - Andrew Strauss and Andy Flintoff - at the top order and then came back in second spell with even more fire, to deal a final crushing blow.
The dishevelled England XI were bowled out for a meagre 238 in its first innings at the IPCL ground. Had it not been for a punishing cameo by Kevin Pietersen, who brought the scantily-occupied stadium to light, the tourists would have touched a record low.
Board XI replied with ferocious hegemony. Elegant Gambhir and calm Jaffer put on a 93 run-stand, teaching thePoms a thing or two about batting... andadding salt to the wound!
The Board presides over England
Probably, not being able to adjust to the SG Ball, the tourists were off to a bad start when Marcus Trescothick committed indiscretion, runnning himself out in the 5th over of the day.
With the opener falling, rest of the top order followed meekly. Ian Bell, who had starred in the previous tour game in Mumbai by hitting a resolute half-century, departed for 17 as he tried to cut Bengal seamer SS Paul and was caught by Wasim Jaffer at gully.
Scrathy Flintoff added just a solitary run from 11 deliveries before chipping Munaf to Vikram at mid-off, plunging his team in disarray.
Kevin 'The Revelation' Pietersen
It was left to the South African-based Kevin Pietersen to hold his team's gaurd up. And boy, did he do it in style!
Continuing after lunch with England tottering at 78/4, the hard-hitting batsman scored smashed 4 fours and 1 six in a single over of VR Singh to repel off any pressure that might have crept in earlier.
He along with G Jones put on a 50-run stand and steered the tourists to a miraculous recovery. He, however suffered an excruciating back spasm thereafter, that sent him limping back to the pavilion for 47 runs.
Plunkett and Jones cruised solidly and tourists went into tea, firmly in control of the proceedings at 208/5.
But that wasn't last ace Board President's XI had thrown!
The fatal blow
Munaf Patel, came back into the attack with a scruffed-up ball, and was fatal for the Poms.
Reverse swinging the ball off the wicket with astonishing regularity, he first suckered well-set Geraint Jones for 46 runs and then eked out the fully-exposed, incompetent tail with three stunning deliveries to signal the demise of tourists.
Adding salt on the wound
Severly embarassed by Munaf, one would haveexpected the England XI to hit back with vengeance.
But Board President's XI was in no mood to hold back. OpenersGautam Gambhir and Wasim Jaffer tore into the bowlers, whether pacers or spinners.
Stephen Harmison proved futile as did media's pin-up boy, MontyPanesar.
Jaffer looked calm and composed while Gambhir was elegant. The duo put on 93 runs for the opening wicket as the hosts finished the game with pure dominance.
England XI 1st innings: M Trescothick run out 18, A Strauss b Patel 23, I Bell c Jaffer b Paul 17, K Pietersen retired hurt 47, A Flintoff c Singh b Patel 1, G Jones b Patel 46, I Blackwellc Venugopal Rao b Powar 33, L Plunkett c Jaffer b Paul 37, M Hoggard b Patel 0, S Harmisonb Patel 4, M Panesar not out 0, Extras: (lb-1, w-2, nb-9)12, Total: (all out, 62.2 overs, 284 mins) 238.
Fall of wkts: 1-24, 2-62, 3-64, 4-72, 5-182, 6-232, 7-232, 8-234, 9-238.
Bowling: Patel 16.2-0-59-5, Singh 9-1-63-0, Paul 14-6-26-2, Powar 17-3-68-1, Raina 3-0-14-0, Venugopal Rao 3-2-7-0.
Indian Board President's XI 1st innings: W Jaffer lbw Blackwell 48, G Gambhir not out 33, Extras: (b-12) 12, Total: (for 1 wkt, 24 overs) 93.
Fall of wkt: 1-93.
Bowling: Hoggard 6-1-29-0, Harmison 5-3-10-0, Flintoff 5-1-20-0, Plunkett 2-0-8-0, Panesar 4-1-8-0, Blackwell 2-0-6-1.
First Published: Feb 23, 2006 12:37 IST