Cricket: Gooch running into total confusion

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The Independent Online
England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .312-3

India U-25

CONFUSION is never very far away when world cricket's governing body gets involved in weighty issues, although the Barabati Stadium here certainly qualifies as one of the more remote outposts to embrace the repercussions of one of the International Cricket Council's regular bouts of indecision.

It is hardly unusual for Graham Gooch to greet his centuries with a gesture of faintly embarrassed diffidence, and yesterday's 102 against India's Under-25 side was no exception. However, had the England captain known for sure whether it was his 100th in first-class cricket, who knows? He might conceivably have done something extravagant such as smile, or raise his bat above waist height.

There is, though, one century, made on the 1981-82 South African Breweries tour, which has yet to be ratified, and when Gooch was approaching his century of centuries (a feat accomplished by only 22 others in well over a century of first-class cricket), the ICC were asked for a ruling. Initially they declined to recognise it, but will now reconsider their verdict at their meeting at Lord's on 2 February. As this is the ICC, a definite decision on that date is definitely not assured.

Gooch was not at his most fluent yesterday against a moderate attack on a slow pitch of occasionally variable bounce, and did not complete his century until the last ball before tea. As tea is taken at 2pm here, it was still hot enough for Gooch to feel the need for a cold shower and allow someone else a turn in the middle, and he promptly retired with a conveniently sore knee.

Gooch said afterwards that he would have been a bit more elated had he known whether this was his 100th hundred, but that he would not mind too much if he made certain with another in his 100th Test match at Calcutta on Friday. 'I was a bit slow (four hours and three minutes) and you can hardly call it one of my more entertaining innings, but I needed a 'net' after two low scores in the one- dayers.'

Whether it was his 99th or 100th, Gooch and the other front-line batsmen's main objective yesterday was time in the middle before Calcutta. Robin Smith managed it with one of his rare centuries abroad (off the final ball of the day) and Alec Stewart and Mike Gatting looked good as the tourists ended the day on 312 for 3.

However, the one batsman to miss out was Mike Atherton who, having had to wait 17 days since his last visit to the crease, made a seventh-ball duck after falling leg before to one which kept unkindly low. Atherton trudged dejectedly off, and within 10 minutes was back in his natural habitat for the past two weeks, facing his own bowlers in the net.

Atherton, though, is still odds- on to open with Gooch in Calcutta, but what is less certain is the composition of the bowling line- up. Assuming that England intend to play two spinners, their first- choice pairing at present is that selected for this game, Ian Salisbury and Phil Tufnell. The official line being peddled on Friday was that John Emburey was unfit for this match with a groin strain, although this was news to Emburey himself.

Phillip DeFreitas, however, is definitely struggling with a groin problem (he suffered a tear when he slipped in the shower on Friday night) and Chris Lewis has replaced him in this match. It now seems unlikely that DeFreitas will be considered for the Test.

Devon Malcolm has been suffering from flu-like symptoms since Thursday, and although he is nominally taking part here, he spent yesterday being attended by a doctor in his hotel bedroom. He was hoping to be fit to bowl today, but Paul Taylor, the Northamptonshire left-arm seamer, suddenly has a chance of making his Test debut in Calcutta. One of the facts of life on a tour to India is that a team's final line-up occasionally boils down to the first 11 to pass a medical on the morning of the game.

(First day of three. England won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings

*G A Gooch retired hurt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102

M A Atherton lbw b Zaidi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0

A J Stewart lbw b Gandhe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39

R A Smith not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 .103

M W Gatting c Bahutule b Zaidi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41

G A Hick not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Extras (b8 lb10 w1 nb4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Total (for 3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .312

Fall: 1-4 2-71 3-307

To bat: C C Lewis, I D K Salisbury, P A Taylor, P C R Tufnell, D E Malcolm.

Bowling (to date): Kuruvilla 18-2-52-0; Zaidi 20- 4-58-2 (w-1, nb-4); Gandhe 21-1-94-1; Bahutule 27-6-58-0; Pandey 4-0-20-0; Jadeja 7-2-12-0.

INDIA UNDER-25: *A Jadeja, S Dighe, A Kuruvilla, S Bahutule, J Paranjpe, R Puri, A W Zaidi, G Pandey, A Kuresia, P Gandhe, R Dravid.

Umpires: S K Bansal and A L Narasimhan

----------------------------------------------------------------- THE HUNDRED HUNDREDS CLUB ----------------------------------------------------------------- Total 100th 100 J B Hobbs (Eng) 197 1923 E H Hendren (Eng) 170 1929 W R Hammond (Eng) 167 1935 C P Mead (Eng) 153 1927 G Boycott (Eng) 151 1977 H Sutcliffe (Eng) 149 1932 F E Woolley (Eng) 145 1929 L Hutton (Eng) 129 1951 W G Grace (Eng) 126 1895 D C S Compton (Eng) 123 1952 T W Graveney (Eng) 122 1964 D G Bradman (Aus) 117 1948 I V A Richards (WI) 109 1989 Zaheer Abbas (Pak) 108 1983 M C Cowdrey (Eng) 107 1973 A Sandham (Eng) 107 1935 T W Hayward (Eng) 104 1913 J H Edrich (Eng) 103 1977 G M Turner (NZ) 103 1982 L E G Ames (Eng) 102 1950 D L Amiss (Eng) 102 1986 E Tyldesley (Eng) 102 1934 G A Gooch (Eng)* 100 1993 ----------------------------------------------------------------- *Pending ICC decision -----------------------------------------------------------------

Hick's power game, Page 26

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