Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 24 News List

India scrapes out 11-run ODI victory

FIGHTING SPIRIT The much-maligned Bangladesh side made India sweat with a tight pace attack that saw the hosts reeling at 45 - 3 before other batters saved the day


Bangladeshi cricketer Mohammad Rafique, right, stretches to field a ball hit by Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, center, as wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud looks on during the first one-day international between Bangladesh and India in Chittagong.


Habibul Bashar and Khaled Mashud hit solid half-centuries but failed to stop India from posting an 11-run victory over a fighting Bangladesh in the first one-dayer on yesterday.

India, who fielded an experimental side, rode on Mohammad Kaif's impressive 80 to post 245-8 before restricting Bangladesh to 234-8 to go ahead in the three-match series.

Bashar (65), who became the second Bangladeshi batsman to complete 1,000 runs in one-dayers, gave India a scare or two during his ninth half-century.

The Bangladeshi captain put on 64 for the fourth wicket with Aftab Ahmed (30) but received little support from the other end after that stand.

The required run-rate kept climbing and Bangladesh needed 92 to win with five wickets in hand in the last 10 overs. It eventually proved beyond their reach despite a brisk 39-ball 50-not-out from Mashud.

Bangladesh's bowlers had done a good job restricting India but their top-order batsmen let them down. They lost three wickets for just 44 before Bashar and Mashud saw them to a respectable total.

Mohammad Rafique, a lower-order batsman promoted to open the innings, was first to go when Yuvraj Singh held a spectacular overhead catch at point.

Mohammad Ashraful and Nafis Iqbal also fell cheaply.

India's left-arm spinner Srid-haran Sriram, who played his last one-dayer four years ago, made an impressive comeback to finish with 3-43.

India, who named an under-strength team after winning the Test series against the hosts, were indebted to man-of-the-match Kaif for setting a challenging target after being put in to bat on a slow wicket.

They were struggling at 45-3 against a tight Bangladeshi pace attack before Kaif and Rahul Dravid (53) repaired the damage with a 128-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Skipper Sourav Ganguly was bowled by Tapash Baisya off an inside-edge for nought in the opening over, while Sachin Tendulkar was caught behind for 19 off Nazmul Hossain and Yuvraj was trapped leg-before for 21.

Kaif and Dravid then steadied the innings but the run-rate improved only in the closing 10 overs, which produced 72 runs. Ajit Agarkar hit a 24-ball 25 and Irfan Pathan an 11-ball 21 not out.

Kaif struck seven fours in his 10th half-century and Dravid five in his 55th.

Four of the six cricketers who joined the Indian squad for the one-day series figured in the eleven, with wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni and fast bowler Joginder Sharma making their debuts.

The Indian batting line-up also wore a different look as regular opener Virender Sehwag was rested and Ganguly opened the innings with Tendulkar. India promoted middle-order batsman Yuvraj to No. 3 position.

SA vs England: preview

South Africa called up opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs on Wednesday for the second and third Tests against England after losing the opening match of the series.

Gibbs is almost certain to return to the starting line-up alongside captain Graeme Smith following a hand injury.

Experienced left-arm spinner Nicky Boje is also back in the squad after thyroid surgery while uncapped fast bowler Charl Langeveldt, who had match figures of seven for 73 in South Africa A's victory over England, is included in a 14-man squad.

Convenor of selectors Haroon Lorgat said: "Herschelle Gibbs' return brings experience to the top-order, he is a world-class player and he and Graeme Smith have proved themselves to be one of the best opening pairs in the game," he said.

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