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Indian batsmen seal series win

By Sanjay Rajan

ON FIRE: Yuvraj Singh's fireworks lit up the end part of the Indian innings. - Photo: V.V. Krishnan.

DHAKA, DEC. 27. There was never any doubt as to who would triumph, the moment India opted to field a full strength side in the deciding contest against Bangladesh at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Monday.

Only, the move was contrary to skipper Sourav Ganguly's philosophy of experimenting with the youngsters in the three-match limited-overs series against the minnows.

India recorded a thumping 91-run victory in the day-night clash to clinch the series 2-1, but then, it did not serve the purpose, or what was originally meant to be the purpose, really, that of the juniors gaining opportunities.

Ganguly, naturally, went into the safety first mode by playing a full side. "It is the decider, so obviously we will," the skipper said. But then, it was the very man who stated "I don't think the youngsters are only to blame, it's all the eleven" after the loss on the previous day.

The move also brought to mind coach John Wright's statement at the start of the overs-limit series.

"If the juniors cannot do it, there must be something wrong," the Kiwi had said.

Had the core of the previous day's side done duty on Monday and won it for India, it might, in a way, have served as a balm for the Sunday's defeat.

But Ganguly was not going to take any chances. And so, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Harbhajan Singh returned in place of S. Sriram, Dinesh Mongia and Murali Kartik.

Left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan was indisposed, and this allowed young Joginder Sharma to retain his slot.

Attack from the word go

India's batting guns boomed from the word go and the opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar brought up the team's 100 by the 13th over. You could sense a touch of revenge in each of those shots. The defeat had obviously hurt.

Bangladesh was without two of its medium-pacers. Tapash Baisya, who bowled impressively the previous day, had injured his shoulder, while the penetrative Nazmul was down with cramps.

Mashrafe Mortaza and the re-called Hasibul Hossain had the openers quiet at the start with their accuracy. The batsmen changed gears in the sixth over and began to dictate length. Thereafter, runs came of good deliveries while the poor ones were plastered.

Tendulkar blasted 12 runs of first-change seamer Mushfiqur Rahman's first over while Sehwag struck Hasibul for a six over long-off and two boundaries in the next over.

Sehwag reached his half century with a boundary through mid-off, off Rahman while Tendulkar missed his by three runs when medium-pacer Khaled Mahmud, who replaced Hasibul in the attack, had him caught behind while trying to cut when there was no width.

Sehwag departed a while later, giving Mahmud the charge to be caught by Md. Ashraful, who ran to his right and jumped full stretch to take it.

Runs difficult to come

Bangladesh made runs difficult to come by between the 15th and 35th overs, known as the `period of consolidation'.

Only 94 runs came in those 20 overs, a phase when Mahmud and experienced left-arm spinner Md. Rafique kept the Indians quiet. The fielding, set defensively, was tight.

On its part, the visitor did not lose any more wickets while Sourav Ganguly (55) and Rahul Dravid (60), whose third-wicket association lasted till the 39th over, put on 98.

The final 10 overs saw India add 118 runs. Yuvraj Singh is comfortable batting at No. 6. It was clearly evident in the first two matches that the new ball is not the Punjab batsman's cup of tea.

The burly left-hander went hell for leather this time, smashing a 22-ball half-century before finishing with 69.

Md. Kaif, who remained unbeaten on 29, was Yuvraj's partner in the 93-run fifth-wicket stand which came off just 47 deliveries. Kaif, innovative as ever, kept rotating the strike to giving a rampaging Yuvraj maximum opportunity.

Not giving in easily

Batted out of contention, Bangladesh, however, did not give in easily. It had India on the field for the full duration, a clear indication that it has gained tremendously from this series.

The top-order failed again as the host was reduced to 41 for three. Opener Rajin Saleh, who top-scored with 82, and Md. Ashraful put on 61 for the fourth wicket, before the latter was run, trying for a non-existent second run.

Wicketkeeper M.S. Dhoni had a hand in five dismissals while Sachin Tendulkar finished with four wickets.

In the afternoon, the players observed two minutes silence in memory of the earthquake victims.

Virender Sehwag was declared the `Man of the Match' and Md. Kaif the `Man of the Series'.

V. Sehwag c Ashraful

b Mahmud

(85m, 52b, 9x4, 2x6)
S. Tendulkar c Mashud

b Mahmud

(60m, 42b, 9x4)
S. Ganguly c Mahmud

b Saleh

(98m, 80b, 2x4, 2x6)
R. Dravid c Mortaza

b Rafique

(87m, 68b, 5x4)
M. Kaif (not out)29
(51m, 24b, 2x4)
Yuvraj c Ahmed

b Mahmud

(34m, 32b, 8x4, 3x6)
M.S. Dhoni (not out)7
(2m, 2b, 1x6)
Extras (lb-4, w-7)11
— —
Total (for five wkts.

in 50 overs)

— —
Fall of wickets: 1-106 (Tendulkar), 2-125 (Sehwag), 3-223 (Ganguly), 4-247 (Dravid), 5-340 (Yuvraj).

Bangladesh bowling: Mortaza 10-0-60-0 (w-3), Hossain 6-0-53-0, Rahman 6-0-52-0 (w-1), Mahmud 10-0-62-3, Rafique 10-1-63-1 (w-1), Ahmed 2-0-16-0, Saleh 6-0-38-1 (w-2).

N. Iqbal c Dhoni

b Agarkar

(32m, 20b, 2x4)
R. Saleh st Dhoni

b Tendulkar

(149m, 114b, 8x4, 1x6)
M. Rafique c Dravid

b Zaheer

(3m, 4b)
H. Bashar c Dhoni

b Agarkar

(13m, 7b)
M. Ashraful (run out)32
(52m, 34b, 4x4)
A. Ahmed c Dhoni

b Harbhajan

(24m, 13b, 1x4)
K. Mashud lbw b


(24m, 16b)
K. Mahmud c Joginder

b Tendulkar

(32m, 31b)
M. Rahman (not out)27
(44m, 44b, 3x4)
M. Mortaza st Dhoni

b Tendulkar

(12m, 20b, 3x4, 3x6)
H. Hossain (not out)1
(3m, 1b)
Extras (lb-8, w-17, nb-6)31
— —
Total (for nine wkts.

in 50 overs)

— —
Fall of wickets: 1-31 (Iqbal), 2-32 (Rafique), 3-41 (Bashar), 4-102 (Ashraful), 5-138 (Ahmed), 6-163 (Saleh), 7-164 (Mashud), 8-198 (Mahmud), 9-246 (Mortaza).

India bowling: Agarkar 7-0-32-2 (w-2), Zaheer 6-1-15-1 (nb-1, w-2), Joginder 3-0-20-0 (w-1), Harbhajan 8-0-48-1 (w-3), Ganguly 5-0-25-0 (w-2), Yuvraj 6-0-24-0, Tendulkar 9-2-54-4 (nb-3, w-1), Sehwag 6-1-31-0 (w-2).

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