Chelmsford: India turned the final day of its tour match against Essex on Saturday into a practice session for the third Test against England.
Ahead of renewing hostilities with Nasser Hussain's side at Headingley on Thursday, India captain Saurav Ganguly saw his team have the better of a draw against the England skipper's county. That result seemed the most likely outcome after India, resuming on 231 for two, batted for a further 28 overs Saturday before Ganguly declared on 327 for six. That left Essex needing a huge 565 for victory. Second time around it did not collapse against the off spin of Harbhajan Singh (seven for 83 in the first innings) making 186 for three after 56 overs before Ganguly and Essex captain Ronnie Irani decided enough was enough. Virender Sehwag took two for 52 with his gentle off-breaks, Richard Clinton (53) and Rav Bopara (47 not out) the main Essex scorers. Opening batsman Sanjay Bangar added just a single to his overnight score before falling lbw to former England left-arm paceman Mark Ilott for 74 off 178 balls, striking nine boundaries. The third-wicket pair had added only six runs when Bangar departed to leave India on 237 for three. Then 237 for three became 241 for four with Wasim Jaffer (four) another Ilott lbw victim. Venkat Sai Laxman made a brisk 42 off 79 balls including one six and five fours before he was caught and bowled by slow left-armer Tim Phillips - to leave India 280 for five. Ganguly (6) did not last long, caught and bowled by Ilott, who finished with four for 67. Harbhajan Singh then smashed four fours and a six - driven off Ilott to long-on - to finish unbeaten on 29 from 21 balls, while wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra was 17 not out.
Indians declare at 327/ 6 vs Essex, Ilott picks 4-wkts
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