Mongia, Mohanty keep S Africa at bay

Published: Monday, February 21, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai: A resolute ninth wicket stand of 12 runs in 12.1 overs between Nayan Mongia and Debashish Mohanty helped Board President's XI earn a honorable draw as they ended with 181 for eight wickets at close of play on the third and final day of their three-day match against the South Africans at the Brabourne Stadium here on Monday.

Mongia, who retired hurt after being struck on the thumb by a rising delivery from Strydom, came to bat at the fall of the eighth wicket, and played with gumption along with Mohanty to take the Board President's XI to safety.

Set a target of 329 in a minimum of 63 overs, the Board President's XI started off on a disastrous note, losing opener J Arunkumar for just two runs with only 12 runs on the board. ArunKumar was dismissed by Donald when he sliced a ball from Donald into the safe hands of gully for Klusener to complete the catch.

Mohammad Kaif joined Wasim Jaffer. The two newcomers into the Indian Test side then started resurrecting the innings with a bright partnership. Both the players looked composed and were ready to play each ball on merit, getting behind the line.

However, just before tea, Kaif tried to hoist Exsteen stepping down the pitch, but missed the line of the ball to be bowled for a well-made 33 off 70 balls with four hits to the fence.

The next man in Ajay Jadeja, who was included into the Indian Test squad for the first Test at the last moment due to an injury to Mohammed Azharuddin, lasted only seven balls, playing away from his body to get an edge for Boucher to gobble up off the bowling of Hayward. Jadeja made only 3 runs.

Mongia then came in after tea, but had to immediately retire hurt after getting hit on the right thumb as he tried to fend off a short one from Hayward. Jaffer's innings also came to an end when he tried to sweep Exsteen, to be bowled behind his legs for 47 in which he had two lives, one when he was 20 and the other when he was 38. His 47 came in a stay of 149 minutes, having faced 106 balls and hit seven fours.

Then Harbhajan, like in the first innings, used the long handle to good effect, hitting Exsteen for two sixes in one over before he was leg before to Exsteen for 39 which came in 46 balls with 5 fours and two sixes.

Bhandari was dismissed three balls later, after hitting Exsteen for a straight six the first ball he faced, being caught at point by substitute Boye.

The eighth wicket fell in the fifth mandatory over.

Then Mongia emerged from the dressing room to take the Board President's XI to safety.

With Mongia showing no signs of discomfort, India has been saved from losing another player to injury before the first Test.

For South Africa, left-arm spinner Clive Exsteen returned with a five-wicket haul.

Earlier, the South Africans took their overnight score of 93 for three to 207 for five before declaring at the lunch-break, thus setting the Board President's XI a target of 329 for victory.



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