CRICKET : Hemp digs in as tourists clinch series win

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India A 216 and 353

England A 316 and 254-5

England A win by 5 wickets David Hemp, the Glamorgan all-rounder, struck a superb, unbeaten 99 to steer England A to victory over India A on the final day of the second "Test" in Calcutta yesterday. Alan Wells, with a captain's innings of 65, helped Hempto steer England home by five wickets and seal the three-match series 2-0.

Hemp, however, was denied a fifth first-class century. After hitting the winning shot, Hemp and his partner, Dominic Cork, ran three, taking Hemp to 100 not out on the scoreboard. But, as England's target of 254 had been reached when the pair completed two, the umpires, A V Jayaprakash and S K Bansal, later ruled that the third run was invalid. "I should have hit it for four," Hemp said.

A hard-fought match had looked like going India's way early in the morning when England slumped to 82 for 4. But then came the match-winning, fifth-wicket stand of 155 and Hemp's innings, which included two sixes and 13 fours, prompted the England A tourmanager, John Barclay, to say: "I have not seen anyone hit the ball more sweetly than that."

John Emburey, in India with the A team as a bowling coach, added: "I think David's a very talented young player. He played the spinners very well today, but I have always rated him as an especially fine player of quick bowling."

Wells now wants his side to go on to complete a 3-0 series victory by winning in Chandigarh, where the third Test starts on Saturday. He said: "The last England team to come to India, the 1993 senior side, were beaten 3-0. But we have done well because we have adapted quickly to Indian conditions and in effect have played them at their own game. We've also fought for everything. There is talent in English cricket. I have always said that - and if you show the right attitude it will come out.

"This series victory has been achieved the hard way because we lost the toss both here and in the first Test at Bangalore. But this squad is full of players with strength of character - which is what you need over here.''

(Final day: India A won toss)

INDIA A - First Innings 216 (U Chatterjee 72no).

ENGLAND A - First Innings 316 (J E R Gallian 77, A P Wells 93; P L K Mhambrey 4-63).

INDIA A - Second Innings 353 (VS Rathore 127, R Dravid 52).

ENGLAND A - Second Innings (Overnight: 80 for 2)

N V Knight st Yadav b Chauhan 40

M M Patel lbw b Bahutule 1

*A P Wells c Chauhan b Chatterjee 65

D L Hemp not out 99

D G Cork not out 0

Extras (lb9 nb2) 11

Total (for 5, 90 overs) 254

Fall (cont): 3-82 4-82.

Did not bat: P A Nixon, G Chapple, I D K Salisbury, R D Stemp.

Bowling: Mhambrey 11-0-33-0; Ganguly 3-0-13-1; Chatterjee 16-1-42-1; Chauhan 29-7-87-2; Bahutule 30-11-69-1; Dravid 1-0-1-0.

Umpires: A V Jayaprakash and S K Bansal.