24 October 2007


Sanjay Bangar played 12 Tests for India. He took 7 wickets at 49, scored three fifties and made a hundred not out against Zimbabwe. His batting average ended at 29.37 - modest for a batsman who was asked to open the innings in England. As long as he was in the team, he was considered nothing more exciting than a lucky mascot. India won five and drew one of Bangar's first six Test. Yet, he had a massive impact on one of India's most celbrated victories of the last decade - Headingly '02. The following is an extract from Ralph Dellor at Cricinfo. It may sound like a Bor-a-thon, but as that match progressed, the value of that attritional first morning became quite obvious. Once again, India had to rely on Anil Kumble (6 wickets) and Rahul Dravid to wrestle an overseas victory. Sanjay Bangar took two wickets in England's second innings.

"In such conditions there was the traditional movement for the bowlers, leaving Sehwag and Bangar to perhaps question the wisdom of batting first. They coped well for half an hour before Sehwag got the opportunity to address his captain on the subject in person. He got a ball from Matthew Hoggard that drew him into the drive and he edged to Andrew Flintoff at second slip as it left him.
That was the only punishable indiscretion in the morning, despite the fact that both Hoggard, operating down the hill, and Andrew Caddick probed outside the off-stump with five catchers in an arc from the wicket-keeper. Hoggard bowled a long, controlled spell of ten overs that cost a mere 20 runs despite the attacking fields. Caddick and Alex Tudor maintained the pressure and it says much for the resolve of the batsmen that they were not beaten more often.
Their efforts were all the more valuable in that the ball was not always behaving as expected. After digging out a couple from Tudor that kept low, Dravid was forced to take evasive action as a vicious ball climbed past his gloves and over the wicket-keeper for four byes. That was one of only four occasions when the ball reached the boundary on a morning that would have been anathema to those wanting quick thrills but was fascinating for anyone with an appreciation of proper Test cricket.

A similar rate of progress was maintained after lunch as the England bowlers toiled and the Indian batsmen picked up the odd run, played and missed or simply left alone. Every over was a test of patience and, even when the sun came out, the ball still swung and the batsmen were still happy to concentrate on survival.
It could be said that the bowlers became intoxicated with the sight of the ball snaking towards the slips instead of risking a faster scoring rate and making the batsmen play more. The batsmen, however, were not to be drawn and were just as watchful against the left-arm spin of Ashley Giles as they had been against the quicker bowlers.
One of the few risks taken was as Bangar went to his fifty with a single into the covers off Tudor. Had Michael Vaughan hit, Bangar would have been some way short. As it was, he reached his personal milestone from 166 balls. Dravid was marginally quicker, taking 153 balls as India added 74 runs in the 32 overs of the afternoon session. "

1 comment:

Soulberry said...

Bangar did what Chopra also used to at the top. That was an important innings.

He was a man with his handful of moments...a domestic performer who saw the big stage and played a few more roles there in the same spirit.