Wells well pleased with his battling team

Board President's XI 333-6 dec and 204-4 dec England A 247 and 168-9

Match drawn Alan Wells insisted on looking on the bright side yesterday after England A narrowly escaped with a draw against a Board President's XI in Madras.

The 33-year-old A-team captain led some grim resistance with a near three-hour 43 as his side eventually hung on at 168 for 9, thanks in the end to the character of the tail-enders, Min Patel and Richard Johnson.

"Sure, we almost lost, but they had a massive advantage in this game because they won the toss and could bat first," Wells said. "We were then always going to have to face a battle for survival on a wearing pitch on the last day, and I thought the guys showed amazing resolve to bat through 78 overs and come out with a draw.

"In all my experience I have never faced a more difficult situation than we did out there today against their three good-class spinners in helpful conditions. I wanted 16 fighters on this tour and I now know I have got them. It is tough cricket out here and the toss is often all important. What has pleased me most so far is that all the players have been willing to adjust their games to the particular demands of India.

"We now go to Bangalore for the first international more determined than ever and also confident that we can do well."

At least two poor umpiring decisions, with Ian Salisbury's dismissal particularly outrageous, did not help England A in their bid to avoid defeat, when set a target of 291 in five hours by the President's XI after their mid-morning declaration.

Salisbury was nowhere near a delivery which looped up to leg slip from his thigh pad as he propped forward against the off spinner Kanwaljit Singh.

But that, unfortunately, is all part of the problem of playing in India, where fielders ring the bat and pressure situations quickly develop.

What the A team must concentrate on is not letting themselves be forced into the kind of position they faced yesterday.

Salisbury's dismissal - in the second over of a last hour which eventually contained 20 overs - left Patel and Johnson with much to do, but they responded magnificently by batting for 54 and 55 deliveries respectively. Johnson eventually fell to a bat-pad catch at short leg, but Patel and the last man, Mark Ilott, safely negotiated the remaining 22 balls.

Neither Patel or Johnson, ironically, are expected to play in the five-day Bangalore "Test" - but their stout defence in Madras has ensured morale remains high going into the international stage of the tour.

(Fourth and final day; Board President's XI won toss)

BOARD PRESIDENT'S XI - First Innings 333 for 6 dec (R Dravid 84, S Rizwan 78, S Ganguly 69, V Rathore 59).

ENGLAND A - First Innings 247 (J E R Gallian 79; K Singh 4-56).

BOARD PRESIDENT'S XI - Second Innings (Overnight: 151 for 2)

S C Ganguly c Hemp b Cork 65

R Dravid c Wells b Patel 49

S Rizwan not out 9

S Bahutule not out 16

Extras (b1 lb3 nb1) 5

Total (for 4 dec, 58 overs) 204

Fall: 1-42 2-93 3-169 4-193.

Did not bat: A Vaidya, V Chatterjee, A Kuruvilla, S Ankola, K Singh.

Bowling: Cork 20-3-59-1; Johnson 8-2-17-0; Patel 23-6-67-2; Salisbury 7-0-57-1.

ENGLAND A - Second Innings N V Knight lbw b Kuruvilla 4

M P Vaughan lbw b Singh 17

J E R Gallian c Vaidya b Kuruvilla 2

*A P Wells c Mehra b Chatterjee 43

D L Hemp lbw b Singh 31

D G Cork c Rizwan b Bahutule 24

K J Piper c Rizwan b Bahutule 4

I D K Salisbury c Rathore b Singh 10

R L Johnson c Mehra b Singh 1

M M Patel not out 25

M C Illott not out 0

Extras (b4 lb2 nb1) 7

Total (for 9, 78 overs) 168

Fall: 1-5 2-11 3-48 4-88 5-124 6-124 7-138 8-138 9-168.

Bowling: Ankola 4-1-12-0; Kuruvilla 7-2-15-2; Chatterjee 22-11-38-1; Bahutule 23-13-30-2; Singh 22-7-67-4.

Umpires: S Choudhry and N Menon.