Richard Stemp, the Yorkshire left-arm spinner who was called up to the full Test squad twice last summer, took another four wickets to finish with 6 for 83 as England A restricted India A to 300 in the first innings of their five-day "Test" in Bangalore yesterday.
The tourists finished the second day on 153 for 3, thanks to half-centuries by Lancashire's Jason Gallian and Warwickshire's former Essex opener, Nick Knight, as well as an undefeated 30 by Mark Ramprakash.
Stemp, bowling in sunglasses apparently to stop opposing batsmen from seeing his eyes, took 4 for 27 yesterday as India A collapsed from their overnight 236 for 4. His performance enhanced his burgeoning reputation.
A smoother run-up and action, courtesy of Norman Gifford's coaching at Lilleshall before Christmas, and a better attitude have combined to make Stemp a spinner with a Test future. Only last summer he was fined £500 for abusive language on the field.
"That's the best I have ever bowled in my career," he said, "and I am just so looking forward to bowling these days. I only sent down three bad balls in my 47 overs. I feel in the groove.
"Last summer, when I was selected for a couple of Test squads, it scared the living daylights out of me. I didn't believe myself that I deserved to be there. But Ray Illingworth made me realise I was on the verge, and that I had to channel my aggression totally into my bowling and my cricket."
There was a sad footnote to the day's proceedings, however, as Mark Ilott learnt that his tour was over. The Essex seamer, who was with England's senior side in Australia over Christmas and the new year as a standby, delivered only 12 overs in India lastweek before breaking down with a side injury which will take a month to heal.
(Second day of five; India A won toss)
INDIA A - First Innings (Overnight 236 for 4)
J Singh c Knight b Stemp 32
V Rathore c and b Salisbury 90
A Mazumdar c Wells b Stemp 1
*P K Amre c Nixon b Chapple 38
R S Dravid lbw b Stemp 60
V Yadav c Knight b Chapple 19
S V Bahutule lbw b Stemp 3
U Chatterjee c Nixon b Cork 24
R K Chauhan c Knight b Stemp 3
P Mhambrey not out 6
A Kuruvilla b Stemp 9
Extras (b7 lb7 nb1) 15
Fall: 1-99 2-101 3-157 4-207 5-252 6-254 7-258 8-270 9-285.
Bowling: Cork 22-6-37-1; Chapple 31-8-82-2; Stemp 46.2-16-83-6; Salisbury 9-1-42-1; Weekes 11-1-42-0.
ENGLAND A - First Innings N V Knight c Yadav b Chatterjee 50
M P Vaughan lbw b Mhambrey 1
J E R Gallian c Rathore b Bahutule 58
M R Ramprakash not out 30
*A P Wells not out 6
Extras (nb8) 8
Total (for 3) 153
Fall: 1-2 2-97 3-136.
To bat: P N Weekes, D G Cork, P A Nixon, I D K Salisbury, G Chapple, R D Stemp.
Bowling: Mhambrey 12-2-32-1; Kuruvilla 6-0-18-0; Chauhan 14-2-37-0; Chatterjee 10-2-23-1; Bahutule 16-6-43-1.Reuse content