Symonds hints at England

India 406 & 144-6 dec Gloucestershire 251-4 dec & 158-8 Match drawn
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The Independent Online
An hour after Gloucestershire had announced that a statement on Andrew Symonds' future - is he English or is he Australian? - would come at the end of the season, the player dropped the broadest hint that he sees any Test future with England.

Symonds has refused to speak to the English media, but in an interview with an Indian journalist, Joseph Hoover of the Deccan Herald of Bangalore, he said: "I'd like to play Test cricket, but first I want to play to the best of my ability and establish myself at first class. Then if they [England] give me a break, I'd be happy to play."

Symonds did not advance his Test future greatly yesterday, adding 28 in the second innings after his 120 not out in the first, as both sides declared in an effort to win. Mark Alleyne, captain in the absence of Courtney Walsh and Jack Russell, declared overnight, 155 behind.

The pitch showed signs of wear on a crisp morning, and India had lost both openers for 22 by the seventh over. Sauran Ganguly was more circumspect at one end while the pursuit continued at the other. When Dickie Davis appeared, he won some turn and took a fine return catch to dismiss Mohammad Azharuddin. He might have had more wickets had fielders been able to hang on to two difficult chances.

Gloucestershire looked vigorous and alert in the field, but once committed to the chase, 300 to win in a minimum of 60 overs, were less certain. Against Javagal Srinath and Bapu Prasad, both seaming the new ball, any hopes of a chase were lost in the clatter of falling stumps.

Rob Dawson was caught behind off Prasad's first ball; Monte Lynch lost his off stump to Srinath before Hewson suffered a similar fate at the other end: 6 for 3 in four overs. That brought in Symonds to join Tim Hancock and, for perhaps two overs, the county looked to be still hunting. But at 63, India's relief seamer Ganguly won extra bounce and Symonds, half forward, was hit on the thigh. Up went Ray Julian's finger and off wandered Symonds.

Five overs later, Hancock tried and failed to lift the slow left-armer Sagi Raju over long off and the question then became: "Could India win?" Davis and Jon Lewis hung on for 20 overs before Lewis, 22 not out, took India into the 66th over and the draw.

More reports, Scoreboard, page 22

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