ICL: Indian Cricket League

Yuvraj and Jaffer shine in draw


Ricky Ponting hit a crucial fifty and Michael Clarke made an assured 36, but the Australians will leave Hyderabad with more questions than answers. Their bowlers once again were second-best; Board President’s XI set the Australians an impossible target of 434 by declaring 47 minutes after lunch. Yuvraj Singh played a vital role in building BP XI’s formidable lead, scoring an entertaining hundred, while Wasim Jaffer contributed 93.

For the visitors, the important phase of the day was Ponting’s batting against spin, especially Piyush Chawla, who had knocked him out in spectacular fashion in the first innings. It was a technical draw. Ponting laced a cover drive early in the contest but was beaten a couple of times when he tried to cut. Tea intervened, and as it happened Ponting then didn’t face Chawla much: at one point of time he had played only four deliveries from Chawla as compared to the 28 against Pragyan Ojha and Yuvraj. Ponting looked pretty comfortable against Ojha, using his feet and clattering him over long-on a couple of times. Chawla got ten more balls at Ponting, who started to stretch out to defend. Chawla dragged back the length and earned a close lbw shout. Just when the contest got interesting, the game ended in a stalemate.

Clarke was his usual self, looking for every opportunity to come down the track to the spinners. He drove and cut well. The openers, though, fell cheaply again: Simon Katich chopped a short delivery straight to point and Matthew Hayden, who had made a cautious start, fell lbw to Chawla.

Stuart Clark was Australia’s best bowler, dismissing both Yuvraj and Jaffer, but the others, especially offspinner Jason Krejza, struggled. An additional worry was wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s fitness: he left the field after being hit on the glove by a delivery from Clark that kept low. Michael Hussey stood in, and though the team management said Haddin - who had a below-par game, conceding 15 byes - was ready to come back, Yuvraj had declared by then.

Yuvraj and Jaffer laid into the Australian attack in the morning and, as a result, BP XI scored 130 runs in 25 overs during the first session. The highlight was Krejza’s sixth, and last, over. He had fielders at long-off and mid-on, but Yuvraj chose the high-risk option, lofting a full ball over long-off before sweeping the next for four more. He dispatched another flighted delivery over the bowler’s head for six before giving the strike to Jaffer, who also hit Krejza over mid-off for four. Krezja’s over cost 21 and his figures read 11-1-76-0.

Yuvraj started quietly last evening and did the same this morning. He scored only five runs off his first 19 balls before breaking free with a perfectly-timed straight drive off Brett Lee. He brought up his half-century by lifting Krejza over the extra-cover boundary in the next over, and continued to accelerate. His second 50 took only 44 balls, and he reached his hundred by pulling Clarke powerfully over deep midwicket.

Yuvraj’s eye-catching timing overshadowed Jaffer, who also began cautiously on the final day. He was squared up by the fast bowlers a few times but had an over to remember against Peter Siddle. He opened the face to guide the second ball to the third-man boundary, pierced the infield at point off the fifth, and drove the final ball straight for four. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli batted without any trouble and added 52 before Yuvraj decided to declare. The Australians will be happy that he did as Ponting and Clarke got some runs ahead of the Test series, which starts in Bangalore on October 9.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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