Centurion: India struggled to 137 for five at tea after being sent in on the first day of its controversial unofficial Test match against South Africa at Centurion Park near Pretoria on Friday.The match went ahead despite the International Cricket Council (ICC) withdrawing its sanction after the teams acted to prevent former England captain Mike Denness acting as match referee. India and South Africa plan, however, to have the match reinstated as the third and final Test in a series which South Africa lead 1-0. On a well-grassed pitch which helped South Africa's seam bowlers, opening batsman Shiv Sunder Das played the only substantial innings for India, making a slow 46 off 132 balls before slashing fast bowler Mornantau Hayward to backward point. Indian star Sachin Tendulkar, whose punishment for interfering with the match ball led to the row over Denness, played the brightest innings of a largely uneventful day. He made 27 off 38 before glancing Jacques Kallis down the leg side for wicket-keeper Mark Boucher to hold a good catch. Kallis was the most impressive bowler, taking two for 13 off 10 overs, while Lance Klusener made the first breakthrough, trapping uncapped Indian opening batsman Connor Williams lbw for five and conceding only four runs in eight overs. Williams, like fellow left-hander Jacques Rudolph of South Africa, was making his international debut without being sure he will be recognised as a Test player. The two competing nations will seek at the ICC executive board meeting in Colombo in March to have the match reinstated as an official Test. South African match referee Denis Lindsay officiated as South Africa won the toss and put India in to bat. The ICC ruled that it could not be considered an official Test because of India's refusal to accept Denness as match referee and South Africa's action in threatening to stop Denness from performing his duties. ICC-appointed umpire George Sharp was withdrawn by the ICC and replaced by Dave Orchard of South Africa, who stood with Rudi Koertzen, also of South Africa. India did not select Virender Sehwag, the player who was suspended for one match by Denness. Indian captain Saurav Ganguly withdrew because of back and shoulder spasms and Rahul Dravid captained India instead.
| Copyright AFP 2001 |