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USA Lose To India Despite Corns And Jamali Effort

By Lloyd Jodah
Jan. 11th, 2010
"Sachin talked to the team about the conditions. Besides he also advised them on how to approach the game, and what sort of technique batsmen have to adopt to be successful on those wickets," coach Pandit said, as the Indian Under-19 team left to play in South Africa, prior to the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand. The Indian team had also toured Australia earlier in 2009. This was the formidable and well-prepared opponent the USA Under-19 team was taking on in a warm-up game on Monday in New Zealand, just 20 miles outside the City of Christchurch.

Naseer Jamali was USA most successful bowler against India, taking 3 for 37. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

On a beautiful day with temperatures in the 60's India batted first and their openers were the Virender Schweg-like Mayank Agarwal who had scored 160 off 142 balls against Australia in April 2009. His partner was the tall Rahul Kannaur who had been scoring centuries since he was 11 years old and was being compared to Rahul Dravid, his hero.

The Indian batsmen had no difficulty against the American pacers, 6ft 5in Hammad Shahid and Naseer Jamali, and quickly got to 61/0 off 7 overs. Agarwal played an array of glorious shots all around the wicket; he cut past point, cover-drove, on-drove and pulled. Agarwal greeted the arrival of the spinners by hitting Ghous overhead for a four that brought up his 50 out of a first-wicket partnership of 74 runs in 10.2 overs.

The USA bowling was not really errant but the Indian openers showed their experience by punishing the short deliveries, and using their feet to the spinners to put them away. Three no-balls resulted in free hits for 4, 6 and 4 for India. Agarwal brought up the 100 off 15 overs with a series of boundaries. He came down the wicket against Shah and blasted over cover for a six. Another boundary through cover took Agarwal to 95, and then he danced down the pitch and smashed the ball over long-off for a six to bring up his century in 76 balls out of 143 runs. Agarwal then opted for Social Security and retired on 102, with 14x4s and 3x6s. Kannaur who was then on 37 went on to score 54 before he too retired. The rest of the Indian batting didn't apply themselves against the energized US bowlers, especially Naseer Jamali, who took two excellent diving catches off his own bowling to dismiss the Indian captain Ashok Menaria, and Harpreet Singh Bhatia. Including the two retirements India ended up with 266 off 48.5 overs. Jamali, 3 for 37 off 9.6 overs.

The rain came down before the USA could bat, and the covers were put on for a bit before play resumed. Facing a tough total the USA team surprisingly sent in their two youngest players to open Abhijit Joshi and Steven Taylor. The Indian pacers were Sandeep Sharma who had been getting lots of wickets in the Vijay Merchant and Vinoo Mankad competitions, and Saurav Netravalker who toured Australia in April 2009. A slow but steady start took the USA to 33/0 in 11, Taylor 15, Joshi 17. Joshi having survived two run-out scares.

Former Australian fielding coach Mike Young had observed the Indian Under-19 team and liked what he saw in their fielding preparations for the World Cup. Young, who started with baseball, helped Australia become one of the best fielding teams so it was no surprise that the Indian team kept the batsmen restricted. The tight bowling and fielding eventually got to the young Taylor who took a wild swing outside the off stump and was caught behind, and the USA had lost their first wicket to make it 48/1 off 13.5 overs. Unadkat 2-0-7-1. Joshi 25.

USA's batting woes from the previous games continued with Joshi, captain Shiva Vashishat and Gregory Sewdial going quickly to make it USA 82/4 in 28 overs. Ironically Harshal Patel, who was bowling very fast and looked the pick of the Indian fast bowlers, could actually play for the USA, being a Green Card-holder whose parents live in the US. Jathar then got left-handed Andy Mohammed and Regis Burton for ducks, Andy caught behind and Burton bowled by a yorker. Gaurav Jathar at this point had bowled 2 overs for 2 runs and taken 2 wickets and the USA was 83/6 off 29 overs. Muhammad Ghous then went plumb lbw. Ryan Corns looked steady but his teammates didn’t seem to want to be around him; perhaps they didn't like his choice of cologne. Corns took what was offered and played delightful shots off the legs.

India's keeper Zahid Ali missed a stumping chance on Corns when the latter was on 36. Two beautiful sweeps over backward square-leg brought up a well-played half-century by Corns, which he celebrated by sweeping one out of the ground for six. However his even taller partner Shahid went down the track for a fast bowler-like swing and the Indian keeper took off the bails leaving Corns on 60 not out. The USA made 154 in 48.2 overs and India won by 112 runs. Gaurav Jathar 3 for 8 off 5 overs was the pick of the Indian bowlers.

The standouts for the USA was the batting of Corns and the bowling of Jamali, whilst the opening stand between Joshi and Taylor was a positive sign, but the paucity of match practice leading up to this trip continues to dog the batting lineup. Fortunately there are two more warm-up games before the real World Cup matches start, enough time for Team USA to get into the competitive frame of mind that only comes at game time. Tomorrow Team USA take on Papua New Guinea, a team they lost to in the World Cup Qualifier in Canada, and so the boys should be highly motivated to get revenge.

Scorecard http://iccu19worldcup.yahoo.net/matchesandscores/inus1101_full_scorecard.html?filename=inus1101&classname=scorecard

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