Giles' sensational second spell


THIS cricket enthusiast will never visit the Ferozeshah Kotla again. Having travelled from Bhatinda to watch the fifth one-day match of the India-England series, he was booked in a hotel close to the venue. It was a move which came in very handy indeed.

Nick Knight came up with a century at Ferozeshah Kotla. This was his fourth one-day hundred.-V. V. KRISHNAN

On the day of the match, he left his room early, only to return after a battering by the police. He had a valid ticket but could not enter the stadium despite waiting for three hours in the queue. Forced to watch the first half of the contest on television in his room, he took a chance in the afternoon but met a similar fate, this time he was spared the baton but was still pushed and abused by the men manning the gate. It was a shattering experience for this supporter of Indian cricket, but there was none to hear his story. There were many others who ended up watching the game on television after having stood hours to buy a ticket.

No trip to Ferozeshah Kotla can be pleasant. The place lacks cricket culture and the awful conduct of the India-England one-day international shall remain a blot for all times to come.

The insensitive officials of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) added one more inglorious chapter to their misdeeds by cheating hundreds of cricket fans. It was a cracker of a contest no doubt, but not for those denied entry despite holding valid tickets. They had to bear the wrath of baton-wielding policemen who were indiscriminate in their caning of innocent cricket fans.

It hardly mattered to the DDCA officials if people were turned away from the gates because they were aware of the situation inside. Seats had been occupied by people smuggled in by the DDCA officials and the policemen well ahead of the start. In the name of security, the police behaved in a rude manner, which certainly was not surprising given their record but it was indeed shocking that the cricket administrators got away scot free.

Ajay Ratra is stumped by James Foster off Ashley Giles. The English spinner was at his menacing best during his second spell. "I am a positive player. I knew I had to take wickets when I got my second spell and that's what happened," said Giles after his match-winning effort.-V. V. KRISHNAN

It was a shame that the playing conditions provided to the teams did not quite measure up to the standards. To begin with, the Indian team could not even practise at the venue on the eve of the match. The outfield was bumpy and the players, especially the Englishmen, were very unhappy about it. The less said about the facilities for the paying public the better.

The DDCA, with its shabby stadium and poor administration, was an eye sore, a bad image for the nation considering that the venue happened to be a traditional Test centre situated in the Capital of the country.

Andrew Flintoff has just dismissed Dinesh Mongia, caught by Foster. Flintoff had contributed with the bat as well.-V. V. KRISHNAN

The Board President, Jagmohan Dalmiya, was a witness to the poor conduct of the match and the DDCA President, Arun Jaitley, was also apprised of the misdoings of some of his colleagues. He made a promise to clean the system but then it would have to wait because of wrong priorities of the proxy king of the DDCA.

The curator had done his bit by preparing a true pitch and the onus was on the Englishmen, who were down 1-3 before the toss was made. All credit to the English team for its positive attitude. In pulling off a two-run victory, Nasser Hussain and his men displayed a resolve so sorely lacking in the Indian outfit. The English showed better tactical understanding of the situation and won the hearts of the crowd inside the Kotla and outside too.

The Indian skipper, in hindsight, was slammed for having opted to field but his decision was driven by the fact that there was moisture on the pitch and the conditions were ideal for the seamers. He did what Hussain had been hoping for.

Sourav Ganguly punishes Darren Gough. The Indian skipper's fine 74 went in vain.-V. V. KRISHNAN

"I have always felt that India makes mistakes when put under pressure. We had aimed at putting on runs on the board and exploiting the pressure," said Hussain.

Ganguly defended his decision "I don't think batting second was the reason for our defeat. The inexperience in the middle-order did the damage. I thought Kaif played quite sensibly and we have to back these youngsters. They are the best we have."

England did very well to post a total of 271. Even if the pitch was full of runs, the task was going to be tough. It was a grand display by Nick Knight, who slammed his fourth one-day century. It was a crucial innings because it guided the English team to a stage from where it could put pressure. There were handsome contributions from Hussain and Andrew Flintoff, who produced a blistering charge which counted in the ultimate analysis. Ajit Agarkar was the worst bowler in the Indian attack even though he tried to make it up with a decent knock later. The pick of the Indian bowlers was Anil Kumble.

The Indians messed up their chase after a flying start by Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Showing splendid touch, Ganguly took the attack by the scruff and in the company of Kaif raised visions of a win. The two came up with a valuable stand but succumbed to the guiles of Ashley Giles, who picked up five wickets and with it the Man of the Match award.

Ganguly got out at the wrong time for India and Kaif followed him quickly. Poor planning saw the Indians locked in a chase which was given a thrust only by Agarkar. But England played much better cricket and deserved to win.

The crowd atop the nearby football stadium watches the action at Ferozeshah Kotla. Even genuine ticket holders were denied entry to the stadium.-V. V. KRISHNAN

The last over, by Darren Gough, reflected the resilience of a side which made little claims and believed in action. The win at Kotla was a memorable one for England and the exciting, last-ball finish was a fitting reward for the spectators who had experienced a very hostile reception from the administrators.

The scores:

England: M. Trescothick c Sarandeep b Agarkar 36, N. Knight (run out) 105, N. Hussain c Ratra b Tendulkar 49, A. Flintoff c Kaif b Srinath 52, P. Collingwood (not out) 8, G. Thorpe b Agarkar 2, M. Vaughan (not out) 7, Extras (lb-10, nb-2) 12, Total (for five wkts. in 50 overs) 271.

Fall of wickets: 1-51, 2-168, 3-248, 4-254, 5-260.

India bowling: Srinath 10-0-47-1, Agarkar 10-0-62-2, Kumble 10-0-37-0, Sarandeep 5-0-34-0, Ganguly 3-0-19-0, Tendulkar 9-0-45-1, Sehwag 3-0-17-0.

India: V. Sehwag c Knight b Gough 42, S. Tendulkar c Foster b Caddick 18, S. Ganguly c O. Shah (sub) b Giles 74, D. Mongia c Foster b Flintoff 20, M. Kaif c Thorpe b Giles 46, H. Badani c and b Giles 2, A. Ratra st. Foster b Giles 10, A. Agarkar (not out) 36, A. Kumble b Giles 2, Sarandeep Singh (not out) 6, Extras (lb-3, nb-1, w-9) 13, Total (for eight wkts. in 50 overs) 269.

Fall of wickets: 1-39, 2-68, 3-100, 4-211, 5-212, 6-219, 7-227, 8-239.

England bowling: Caddick 10-1-39-1, Flintoff 7-1-41-1, Gough 10-0-53-1, Vaughan 7-0-40-0, Giles 10-0-57-5, Collingwood 6-0-36-0.

THE Indians are supposed to be champion batsmen against spin even though this myth has been exposed time and again. Left-arm spinner Ashley Giles proved it with a sensational second spell after being clobbered in the first.

His first four overs cost Giles 32 runs and the next six 25 runs in which he scalped five batsmen, including the dangerous Sourav Ganguly. It was a remarkable comeback by a bowler who had been smashed for three towering sixes by Ganguly.

In fact, Giles was not even expecting to get a second spell but Hussain had little choice. And the bowler obliged with an incisive spell which sent India to a crashing defeat from a winning position.

"I'm a positive player. I knew I had to take wickets when I got my second spell and that's what happened. I'm really happy we won the match," said Giles, man of few words.

Hussain praised the left-arm spinner lavishly. "When I gave the ball to Giles it was a risk in the second spell. He had been hit all over in the first spell. If he had not taken those wickets, the result could have been different. Ganguly's wicket was crucial," said Hussain.

On his performance, Giles said "The change of ends worked very well for me. I was asked to go around the stumps and it proved useful." The left-arm spinner also gained by pushing the ball flat as the batsmen looked to score briskly.

For Giles, the performance at Delhi should mean a lot. His success in Sri Lanka and Pakistan had boosted the confidence of the Warwickshire bowler and the trip to India would go a long way in establishing Giles as a key member of the side. Having come through the grind, he does understand the importance of consistency. An Achilles injury had bothered him in the past but the 29-year-old Giles looks set to serve the team long. The success, his career-best effort, at Delhi could be a small step in that direction.