Chapple earns praise

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The Independent Online
Losing the toss is becoming a good habit for Alan Wells. For the third time in this series the England A captain called tails, for the third time the coin came down showing heads, and India A decided to bat. But England A have won the first two "Test" matches from such a starting point, and keep on bowling themselves into a winning position. Several changes to the Indian team, including the replacement of the captain, Pravin Amre, do not appear to have helped a great deal. Vikram Rathore was put in charge for this match, in the capital of his home state, Punjab, and the State Governor turnedup to wave them off, but it didn't make any difference.

Three balls into the match, the public address announcer was beseeching Saurav Ganguly to "fill the breach" after Rathore lost his off-stump to Dominic Cork and the tone was set for the day.

Chandigarh, designed by the French architect Le Corbusier and based on Milton Keynes, sits on the route to the Himalayas, and the damp morning conditions together with a lively pitch offered the seamers some early assistance.

Glen Chapple followed Cork's lead. Ganguly let the announcer down when, from a ball that climbed and moved away, Keith Piper took a brilliant mid-air catch to his left. Gagan Khoda was then beaten by one that was angled in, and India disintegrated to 10 for three after six overs.

hopes of a revival after lunch were sabotaged by some poor shots. Amol Muzumdar played across the line in the third over of the afternoon to give Chapple his third wicket, on his way to three for 41 in 18 overs.

Ian Salisbury spent most of the day as a spectator, and it remains to be seen if he will be handed the chance to revive his Test career this summer. He will return from this tour with the questions about his control and line still unanswered.

This England side seems to be getting the winning habit. The chance to reverse the scoreline from the 1993 series between the senior sides is there; in light of his recent run, the team will be urging Alan Wells to bet against it.

(First day of five; India A won toss)

India A - First innings *V S Rathore b Cork 0

G Khoda lbw Chapple 7

S C Ganguly c Piper b Chapple 0

R Dravid lbw Cork 59

A A Muzumdar b Chapple 31

R Shamshad b Patel 22

A Vaidya c Piper b Stemp 4

U Chatterjee b Chapple 20

P L K Mhambrey not out 17

K Singh not out 16

Extras (2b, 3lb, 1nb, 1w) 7

Total (for 8) 183

Fall: 1-0 2-3 3-10 4-56 5-93 6-102 7-144


Bowling (to date): Cork 16-8-32-2; Chapple 18-5-41-4; Stemp 23-4-41-1; Johnson 8-1-28-0; Patel 16-8-24-1; Weekes 9-1-12-0.

England A: N V Knight, J E R Gallian, D L Hemp, *A P Wells, P N Weekes, D G Cork, G Chapple, K J Piper, R L Johnson, M M Patel, R D Stemp.