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Monday, October 6, 2008

Yuvraj, Jaffer flay Aussies in drawn India tour cricket match

Yuvraj Singh plays a shot

HYDERABAD, India (AFP) — Indian Test rejects Yuvraj Singh and Wasim Jaffer enhanced their claims for a comeback by pounding Australia's bowlers in a practice match on Sunday.

Left-handed Yuvraj struck a belligerent 113 with seven sixes and as many boundaries while Jaffer hit 93 for the Indian Board President's XI on the final day of the four-day match here.

The hosts piled up 292-4 in their second innings before skipper Yuvraj declared 50 minutes after lunch to set the tourists an improbable victory target of 434 in a minimum of 53 overs.

Australia used the time for valuable batting practice ahead of the first Test in Bangalore on Thursday, making 127-2 before the match was called off as a draw after 38 overs.

Skipper Ricky Ponting, looking to make amends for a disappointing average of 12 in eight Tests on Indian soil, followed his 41 in the first innings with an unbeaten 58.

Vice-captain Michael Clarke made 36 not not, sharing a third wicket stand of 75 with Ponting after openers Simon Katich and Matthew Hayden had fallen cheaply.

The tourists were embarrassed by India's second string over the four days, first allowing the hosts to pile up 455 in the first innings before being bowled out for 314 in reply.

The reliable Mike Hussey's gritty 126 on Saturday was the lone bright spot for the world's number one side, who struggled to cope with a slow, barren pitch.

Yuvraj and Jaffer, excluded by the selectors for the first two Tests of the four-match series, vented their frustration on the hapless bowlers.

The pair put on 200 for the third wicket as the home team, resuming at 110-2 with an overall lead of 251 runs, hammered 130 runs in the two-hour morning session.

They were particularly severe on rookie off-spinner Jason Krejza, effectively ending the Tasmanian's hopes of playing the first Test by plundering 63 runs from his six overs before lunch.

Krejza, who returned figures of 0-123 in the first innings, was hammered for 76 runs in 11 overs in the second.

"Australia will definitely miss a quality spinner in the series," said Yuvraj.

"Shane Warne is not there now, so the fast bowlers have a real tough job on their hands.

"But it would be foolish to underestimate the Aussies. They always have a plan and will prove to be formidable opponents."

Ponting defended Krejza, 25, who has taken over as the team's number one spinner after leggie Bryce McGain was sent home due to a shoulder injury.

"For him it's all a learning curve," said the Australian captain. "There is no doubt he has got the skills and he has got the talent.

"But he has just got to work out for himself, and we have got to work out in a pretty short time how we are going to best use him."

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