Stemp drives England home

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The Independent Online
India A 229 and 156

England A 209 and 179-9

England A win by one wicket Tail-end heroics yesterday from Richard Stemp, Richard Johnson and Min Patel secured a nerve-tingling one-wicket win over India A in the third Test in Chandigarh, prompting Alan Wells' and his young team to go on a lap of honour around the boundary in the near-deserted stadium.

Having proved their credentials, the likes of Stemp, Glen Chapple, Jason Gallian and perhaps even the experienced but uncapped Wells himself are ready to be promoted to the full England side.

Mark Ramprakash, of course, has already won a senior call-up this winter - with some success during the Perth Test- and rejoins his England A colleagues in Delhi today.

"Mike Atherton has complained about a lack of focus in his squad this winter," Phil Neale, the team manager, said. "Well, these guys are focused and they have also fostered an amazing team spirit. They adapted fast over here and played it the Indian way,rather than thinking that the English way was good enough.

"There is no reason why these boys should not go through to the full side. I wouldn't like to rule any of them out of contention."

Stemp, the Yorkshire left-arm spinner and England A's last man, strode off the ground with his bat aloft after hitting his second ball for six and his fourth ball for four to close the match in stunning fashion.

Johnson finished with a brave 33 not out and Patel made 15 in a ninth-wicket stand of 41 - 22 of which came amid great tension yesterday morning after England A had resumed on 146 for 8, chasing 177 on a pitch crumbling to dust by the minute.

(Final day; India A won toss)

India A - First Innings 229 (R S Dravid 59; G Chapple 4-60).

England A - First Innings 209 (P L K Mhambrey 4-63)

India A - Second Innings 156 (A A Muzumdar 55; G Chapple 5-38).

England A - Second Innings (Overnight: 146 for 8)

R L Johnson not out 33

M M Patel lbw b Chatterjee 15

R D Stemp not out 11

Extras (lb3 nb1) 4

Total (for 9, 86.1 overs) 179

Fall (cont): 9-168.

Bowling: Mhambrey 15.1-5-34-1; Ganguly 5-2-9-0; Chatterjee 33-12-71-4; Singh 29-14-49-4; Padmanabhan 4-0-13-0.

Umpires: K Parthasarthy and P R Choudhary.