Southampton (England): Sanjay Bangar turned in a fine all-round display as India set up a victory opportunity against Hampshire on the second day of the tourists' three- day match here at The Rose Bowl on Sunday.
Fast bowler Bangar took four for 40 as Hampshire was bowled out for 123. And the 29-year-old then top scored with an unbeaten 52 out of India's second innings 139 for four declared. Then, just to set the seal on the day, he took both Hampshire second innings wickets to fall before stumps. At the close Hampshire was 43 for two, 209 runs behind with eight wickets standing. Earlier, John Crawley, who was recalled on Saturday to the England squad for the first Test against India, was bowled by Tinu Yohannan for 15. This is India's last match before Thursday's opening Test of four at Lord's. And with long-time India spearhead Javagal Srinath not on the tour after announcing his retirement from Test cricket, Bangar's performance here reinforced his bid for top-flight action. However, pace bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra, who both performed creditably in India's triangular series One-day triumph earlier on the tour, are not playing in this match. Bangar, who made his Test debut against England last winter, took three wickets on Sunday after making an early breakthrough 24 hours earlier as Hampshire, who famously inflicted a defeat upon Australia here last year, slumped from 59 for one to 80 for five. India captain Ganguly then followed Bangar's lead by taking three quick wickets with his medium-pacers as Hampshire struggled to 111 for eight at lunch. It did not take long for India to wrap up its hosts' innings before the batsmen set off in pursuit of declaration runs. Virender Sehwag smashed the opening delivery from first innings hero and former England One-day off spinner Shaun Udal for six. But Udal had Sehwag (22) caught at long-on to leave India 29 for one. Then Wasim Jaffer (32) was caught behind by veteran keeper Adrian Aymes off Lawrence Prittipaul. Bangar and India Test keeper Ajay Ratra were both promoted in order to get some batting practice. And Bangar seized his opportunity, smashed 17 off one James Hamblin over. However, the fast-medium Hamblin did have some consolation in dismissing Ratra (26) thanks to former Zimbabwe all-rounder Neil Johnson slip catch before dismissing Venkat Sai Laxman for a duck thanks to a catch off his own bowling. But Bangar was unaffected, facing 100 balls including one six and five fours before Ganguly called a halt when the paceman brought up his fifty. And Bangar still had plenty of energy left having Johnson caught for nought by Sehwag at mid-wicket before inducing an edge off Hampshire's other opener, Will Kendall (7), which was taken by Rahul Dravid in the slips. Hampshire will start on Monday with captain and ex-England batsman Robin Smith 19 not out and John Francis 10 not out.
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