Challenger Series Oct '05 - Final - Notes

India B innings: Cox had an outage this morning and as a result I couldn't catch the first half of the match. I got to watch only the highlights of the India B innings during the break. Robin started off with a couple of flicked fours, but fell soon after playing an airy cover drive straight to Kaif. Sriram fell in similar fashion for 8. Mongia followed soon after top-edging a cut and made it 43-3. Yusuf Pathan made 20 in a hurry and failed to read a Bhajji doosra. Dhawan seemed compact in his 26 until he snicked one to the keeper off Zaheer. Parthiv was again the pick of India B batsmen, but his tenure was cruelly cut short by another pathetic decision by the umpire (umpiring in this series was really bad - no wonder it has been hard to find a good Indian umpire after Venkatraghavan's retirement). The under-19 skipper, RaviKant Shukla added 50 for the 6th wicket with Parthiv and stuck around till the very end making a very patient unbeaten 26 off 71 balls. The super-sub Sunny Singh was drafted in early in place of Bose, but he yorked himself for just 5. Piyush, Bhandari and Sree Santh tried to exhibit their shimmying skills, failed miserably and got stumped by Dhoni. They were bundled out within 43 overs and not playing the entire quota is a cardinal sin at any level - international or domestic.

Zaheer picked up 3 wickets and bowled with good control - seems like a good thing to keep dropping him out of the side now and then. The spinners shared the remaining spoils - Bhajji 2-23 off 8 and Karthik a fifer for 29 off 9.5 overs. Hopefully the pair of them would carry this rhythm into the SriLankan series.

India Seniors Innings: Vidyut, who finally got a game (thanks to Agarkar's absence) did enough to make a claim to the long list of one-day-openers-in-the-waiting list. He hit 15 boundaries in his man-of-the-match winning 87 and departed when they were just 5 runs away from victory. He used to be a very good left-arm spinner during his under-19 days and it is a pity that he hardly bowls these days. Sachin played four glorious shots to the fence and got out trying to cut a googly off young Piyush. Sachin seemed to be in decent nick while he was there and Chappell has every reason to believe that he is very close to hitting some good form. Yuvraj and Dhoni missed out and became the two other victims of Piyush's impressive 3-wicket haul. Venugopal Rao made 18, Yadav made 10 and Parab 4 as the Seniors side stuttered to victory. Irfan and Karthik remained unbeaten at the end with 11 and 4 respectively.

SreeSanth and Chawla were the pick of the bowlers. SreeSanth was easily the best bowler in the tournament and was deservedly named the "Man of the Series". The team for the SriLankan series is to be named tomorrow and he would be fancying his chances of featuring in it. The wicket of Sachin should have pleased Piyush to no end - he is still very young and would have to wait for his turn, but I would really be disappointed if he doesn't make it to the Indian side in the next couple of seasons.

Scorecard

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