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India in driver's seat

By Our Special Correspondent

KOLKATA, JAN. 27. An inexperienced England batting line-up collapsed like a pack of cards against India's pace-spin attack to end the first innings at 147 on the opening day of the four-day second under-19 `Test' at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.

At close, India had replied with 119 for two. Faiz Fazal and skipper Ambati Rayudu were unbeaten on 23 and 21 respectively. The way the two Indian opening batsmen, Robin Uthappa and Shikhar Dhawan, and later Fazal and Rayudu batted on a good batting track, India looked set for a big first innings total.

In fact, India should have ended without losing any wickets. Both dismissals were brought about by silly errors from the batsmen.

Left-handed Dhawan was aggression personified from the start, while Uthappa was circumspect. The two put on 67 runs for the first wicket before Uthappa played across a Ben Harmison ball and was adjudged leg before for 22.

Dhawan's strokeplay was absolutely delightful. The 41 runs he made off 63 balls in 77 minutes had six hits to the fence. He, however, failed to get on top of off-spinner Moeen Ali's flighted delivery and the resultant edge was taken in the slips by William Gifford.

The unfinished third-wicket association between Fazal and Rayudu promises to be a big one. Fazal looked solid in his 37-minute stay for 23 runs with five 4s, while Rayudu was wristy in his delightful batsmanship. All the five hits to the boundary in 23 minutes of stay spoke volumes of his ability to time his strokes brilliantly and find the gaps regularly.

Earlier, electing to bat, England found only opener Joseph Denly in a mood to apply himself. Gifford did play some good shots in his 25 but it was Denly who prolonged the innings becoming the seventh man to fall at 121. His 11 hits to the fence in 192 minutes at the crease (157 balls) was the lone highlight of the England innings.

Medium pacer Gaurav Dhiman, replacing Hardevender Singh, picked up three wickets for 33 runs, while leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, coming in place of left-arm spinner Avinash Yadav, bagged four wickets for 37 runs. Off-spinner Harvinder Singh had a haul of three for 10. India made three changes to the team that won at Bangalore. The third change was Mayank Tehlan making way for Aditya Jain.

England dropped new ball operator Thomas Smith in favour of David Griffiths.

The scores:

England under-19 — 1st innings: M. O'Shea c Shah b Dhiman 1, J. Denly c Chawla b H. Singh 56, W. Gifford c Tewari b Dhiman 25, S. Davis b Chawla 14, B. Harrison c Shah b Harvinder 0, M. Ali b Chawla 7, M. Stokes c Uthappa b Chawla 9, A. Harrison c Dhiman b Harvinder 6, D. Griffiths c Jain b Dhiman 8, M. Lawson b Chawla 0, A. Miller (not out) 11; Extras (nb-10): 10. Total (in 62.1 overs): 147.

Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-38, 3-66, 4-74, 5-93, 6-103, 7-121, 8-127, 9-127.

India under-19 bowling: Nabi 9-0-44-0, Dhiman 9.1-2-33-3, Fazal 6-2-10-0, Chawla 22-7-37-4, Harvinder 7-2-10-3, Tewari 9-4-13-0.

India under-19 — 1st innings: R. Uthapa lbw b Harmison 22, S. Dhawan c Gifford b Ali 41, F. Fazal (batting) 23, A.T. Rayudu (batting) 21; Extras (lb-6, nb-6): 12. Total (for two wkts. in 23.1 overs) 119.

Fall of wickets: 1-67, 2-83.

England under-19 bowling: Harrison 3.1-1-16-0; Miller 4-0-19-0; Griffiths 5-0-24-0; Harmison 4-1-12-1; Ali 5-0-22-1; Lawson 2-0-20-0.

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