Cricket round-up: Gale cuts loose to seal series win for Lions

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The Independent Online

England Lions beat India A by five wickets at Worcester yesterday to win the triangular one-day series, with Yorkshire's Andrew Gale hitting 90 off 114 balls as a target of 279 was reached with eight balls to spare.

Alastair Cook, the Lions' captain, made only four but there were half-centuries for Steven Davies and Darren Stevens before James Taylor and Peter Trego secured victory.

Cheteshwar Pujara's unbeaten 87, following on from his century against the Lions on Tuesday, was the fulcrum of India A's 278-7, in which opener Abhinav Mukund also made 62. Stephen Parry, the Lancashire left-arm spinner who was making his Lions debut, took three wickets.

India A had made 343-8 on Tuesday, a score that enabled them to tie the game and reach the final, but after openers Mukund and Shikhar Dhawan put on 68 for the first wicket in rapid time, the tourists never looked like posting an adequate total.

Parry's figures of 3-48 would have been better but for conceding 10 in his last over as Pujara hit the first six of the day. Two of his wickets were catches on the boundary, while Saha was leg-before attempting to sweep.

The Lions, without Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and James Tredwell, had Cook back as captain after three games out with back trouble but he faced only three deliveries before he was leg-before to Jayadev Unadkat.

Davies, who spent nine years at Worcester before his winter move to the Oval, benefited from his familiarity with New Road pitches by hitting 50 off 52 balls with nine fours.

Meanwhile, centuries for Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey enabled the Australians to post 436 in their two-day, 100-overs per side match, against Derbyshire, who fielded a largely second-string seam attack.

The tourists lost three wickets in the first hour. But Ponting, apart from an escape on 79 when he was dropped at fine leg hooking Mark Footitt, looked a class apart before retiring on 116. Hussey, his partner in a 210-run stand for the fourth wicket, went on to reach 132 off 140 balls. Wicketkeeper Tim Paine, with an unbeaten 52, and leg-spinner Steven Smith plundered further runs before Australia were bowled out in 89.3 overs, Footitt finishing with 3-63.

West Indies A seamer Kevin Stoute took 8-52 in nine overs but Lancashire still won by 53 runs in a 50-over match at Old Trafford.

In the Championship, Robin Martin-Jenkins – in his last first-class match before retirement – finished unbeaten on 73 as Sussex edged ahead of Gloucestershire on day two of their Second Division match at Arundel.