Chelmsford (England): Making full use of their last opportunity of batting practice before the Headingly Test, the Indians took their second innings score to 327 for six before declaring at lunch on the final day of the four-day match against Essex on Saturday.
In the process, the visitors gave their bowlers two full sessions to bowl out Essex setting them a near impossible target of 565 runs. Resuming at their overnight score of 231 for 2, the Indians batted comfortably in the Saturday morning session to extend their lead to 564 runs. Ajay Ratra (17) and Harbhajan Singh (29) were the two not out batsmen when the declaration came.
Sanjay Bangar, overnight 73 not out, failed to score a hundred, when he was given out lbw to left-arm paceman Mark Ilott after adding just one more run. Bangar, not entirely happy with the decision, lingered on believing a hundred could have clinched him a Test berth. Still a place for him is not ruled out in the Headingley Test given the indiscipline of India's medium-pacers and Bangar's usefulness with the bat.
V V S Laxman who resumed on 9 on Saturday moved to 42 before he was caught and bowled by Tim Philips. Meanwhile, Wasim Jaffer, coming in at an unfamiliar three down in the order, failed for the second time in the match when he was trapped leg before on four. In India's first innings score of 516, Jaffer had made 19. Skipper Saurav Ganguly came in at number seven and became Ilott's fourth victim holing out a return catch.