SPORT

Hinds, Sarwan torment President's XI

BANGALORE Oct. 5. A deadly cocktail of Wavell Hinds' sledgehammer and Ramnaresh Sarwan's feather touch bruised Board President's XI at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday. Hinds' 147 and Sarwan's unbeaten 93 helped the West Indies close day two at 341 for two, 66 runs ahead of the Board President's XI first innings score of 275 for eight declared.

On a day rich with the Windies runs and saddled with the President's XI ruins, Hinds, Chris Gayle and later Sarwan spent enough time in the middle to lend steel to the visitors' heart before the first Test commences at Mumbai on October 9. Resuming at the overnight 20 for no loss, the visitors coasted along with openers Gayle and Hinds plonking their front foot against seamers L. Balaji and Tinu Yohannan.

Balaji did stick to an off-stump line after his first ball went for four leg-byes. However, on a batsmen's day out, the Board President's XI bowlers were left clueless, gaping at a galloping scoreboard. Hinds and Gayle got their early bites with the drive past covers. And in the race for runs, Hinds led Gayle briefly, feasting on Sarandeep Singh's errant line. The off-spinner's first over for the day had the pathos of a casualty report as Hinds swept twice for four and then hoisted for a six past long-on.

The openers were soon matching shots and scores and notched up their 50s to help the Windies hurtle past the 100-mark in 21.5 overs. However, Gayle's (62, 122m, 99b, 8x4, 1x6) vaulting ambition was his undoing as an attempt to repeat his hoick against Sarandeep Singh proved fatal. The opening partnership worth 128 runs from 28.3 overs was the perfect backdrop for Ramnaresh Sarwan to get his eye in and partake in the run feast. And he did that with aplomb.

On the hallowed turf on which Sir Vivian Richards made his Test debut back in 1974, Sarwan (93 n.o., 263m, 214b, 13x4, 1x6) set his sights high and a century seems a mere formality when the final day's play commences on Sunday. His square-cut of Yohannan spoke of a talent that should soon dismantle any remaining shreds of self-doubt. The ball was steaming towards the off-stump when Sarwan whipped his bat in a delectable arc and the next second, the ball was racing past point.

The Hinds-Sarwan 150-run second-wicket partnership forced Board President's XI captain Mohammed Kaif to rotate his bowlers but the session between lunch and tea remained barren. Hinds' bat (147, 285m, 187b, 17x4, 4x6) continued its rippling act and the power behind his shots quadrupled after he reached his century. The whack past the bowlers' head left Kaif searching for answers until a tired sweep against left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, hit Hinds' pads.

Hinds' exit choked the run flow, as Chanderpaul failed to find his feet against the spinners. His attempts to whip Amit Mishra's leg-breaks, was an ungainly sight but with the patience of a man waiting for his just desserts, he sewed up one end and helped Sarwan flower.

Among the bowlers, Amit Mishra exuded confidence, and just three long hops from a leg-spinner on a long day, augurs well. His selection in the senior squad for the first two Tests at Mumbai and Chennai, was the lone good news for Kaif's men on an eminently forgettable day.

The scores: Board President's XI — 1st innings: 275 (for eight decl.).

West Indies — 1st innings: Chris Gayle c Sanjay Bangar b Sarandeep 62, Wavell Hinds lbw b Murali Kartik 147, Ramnaresh Sarwan (batting) 93, S. Chanderpaul (batting) 20. Extras (b-2, lb-6, nb-11) 19. Total: (for two wkts.) 341.

Fall of wickets: 1-128, 2-278.

Board President's XI bowling: S. Bangar 12-3-44-0; L. Balaji 13-3-32-0 (4nb), Sarandeep Singh 19-2-66-1 (1nb), Tinu Yohannan 14-1-64-0, Murali Kartik 18-4-69-1 (6nb), Amit Mishra 19-4-58-0.

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