Zaheer stakes claim with 3-wicket haul

Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan staked his claim for a Test recall with a three-wicket haul for India Seniors against India 'A'.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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Bangalore:Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan staked his claim for a Test recall with a three-wicket haul for India Seniors against India 'A' on the opening day of their four-day practice game here today. But the hero of the day was Sridharan Sriram who cracked an unbeaten 110 as India A, led by Dinesh Mongia, ended the first day on a respectable 282 for seven in 90 overs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Zaheer, who bowled well at the recent Irani Cup, continued his good work dismissing opener Dheeraj Jadhav (8), and then sent back Venugopal Rao (36) and wicketkeeper-batsman M S Dhoni (0) off successive balls to finish with a tally of three for 38. Irfan Pathan picked up two wickets – Gautham Gambhir (45) and Mohammed Kaif (31) – in the first over after lunch, while Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh took a wicket each. Electing to bat, India 'A' were in a spot at 106 for four before Sriram, who batted with confidence, pulled his side out of trouble. He put on 91 runs for the fifth wicket with Rao and 58 runs for the seventh with Murali Kartik (20). The Tamil Nadu batsman's unbeaten knock came in 165 balls with 11 fours. At close, Ashish Nehra was giving him company on three. Zaheer turned in an impressive performance bagging three wickets for 38 runs. Pathan, on the other hand, failed to get his rhythm at times and ended the day with two wickets for 61 runs in 18 overs. The warm-up game is specifically meant for top cricketers to get into the right frame of mind for the crucial four-Test series against Australia, after a below-par performance in the recent three one-day tournaments. Ganguly also chose to have some bowling practice in the middle where the Test would also be played, sending down four overs, introducing himself into the attack after ten overs. Spinners Kumble and Harbhajan did not have a great outing today with one for 77 and one for 74 in 25 and 22 overs, respectively. Wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel did not have a good day either as he dropped Kaif when he was yet to open his account off Pathan. "It is one of my better innings," said Sriram, who completed his century in style with a boundary off Kumble. "My job is to score runs. I don't worry about selection. I leave it to the selectors," added the batsman, a consistent performer on the domestic scene. Sriram also had a good outing in the recent Irani Cup. (PTI)

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