Georgetown: Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble shared four wickets to boost India's chances on Saturday of winning the three-day match against Guyana Board President's XI here.
Paceman Srinath took 2 for 12 and leg spinner Kumble 2 for 5 as the hosts, trailing by 130 runs, struggled to reach 52 for 5 at stumps on the second day at the Everest ground. Srinath removed opener Andrew Gonsalves and Narsingh Deonarine off successive balls in his fourth over and then Kumble took two in three overs to press home the advantage given by Sanjay Bangar, who top-scored with 76. All-rounder Bangar started cautiously before exploding with a flurry of big shots in the later part of his innings, hitting four sixes and six fours in his 210-minute knock. Srinath and Kumble struck after the Indian batsmen had struggled to seize the initiative against a second-string, but disciplined, Guyanese attack in the first two sessions. The tourists scored 248 in reply to their opponents' 118, but not before they were given a scare or two by left-arm spinner Hemnarine Harinarine and fast bowler Reon Griffith. Harinarine finished with 3 for 54 and Griffith 2 for 46 to deny the Indians valuable batting practice ahead of the first Test against the West Indies, starting at Bourda here on April 11. The Indians were reeling at 104 for 5 before Bangar pulled his team out of trouble with an 82-run stand for the sixth wicket with Venkatsai Laxman (43). Skipper Saurav Ganguly (52) and Laxman spent more than two hours in the middle, but failed to play big knocks. Bangar steadied the innings with his stand with Laxman after Griffith had exposed the tourists' batting limitations against pace with two vital wickets. The 23-year- old fast bowler dismissed master batsman Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in his five testing overs to reduce the Indians to 136 for 5 at lunch after the tourists had resumed at 73 for 2, losing three wickets in a space of 10 runs. The Indians' batting preparations, however, for next week's Test left a lot to be desired as their famed middle order collapsed against pace and the lower order against spin. Griffith, who had taken 10 wickets in his six first-class matches, rocked the Indians in his fiery opening spell as he conceded just seven runs in as many overs. Ganguly and Tendulkar both paid the penalty for playing one shot too many against a tight Guyanese attack.
Harbhajan strikes it rich in West Indies tour opener