Asia XI survive Pollock century scare to secure victory

Thursday, June 7, 2007

BANGALORE, India: Shaun Pollock smashed a maiden one-day century, but failed to stop Asia XI from posting a 34-run win over Africa XI in the first match of the Afro-Asia cricket series here on Wednesday.

The South African scored a robust 130 runs, as his team were restricted to 283 while chasing a stiff 318-run target under lights to concede a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Africa were wobbling at 31-5 before all-rounder Pollock led the recovery with a brilliant innings under pressure. He received valuable support from Zimbabwean Elton Chigumbura, who scored 40 runs, and Kenyan Thomas Odoyo, who contributed with 39 runs.

Pollock, playing only as a batsman after undergoing a foot surgery recently, gave many anxious moments to the Asian team as he put on 67 runs for the eighth wicket with Chigumbura and 103 runs for the next with Odoyo.The South African reached his hundred in style, hitting Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif for a four. He struck one six and 19 fours in his 110-ball knock. Fittingly Pollock was named Man-of-the-Match for his efforts.Asia’s total owed much of its substance to Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf who made 66 runs and skipper Mahela Jayawardene who scored a near identical 65 runs. The pair put on 94 runs for the fourth wicket partnership to prop up the innings for Asia.

Yousuf also became the third Pakistani batsman to complete 8,000 runs in one-day internationals during his 74-ball knock after the retired duo of Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar.

Asian pacemen Asif and Zaheer Khan who returned with figures of 3-57 and 2-43 respectively then raised hopes of an easy victory when they shared five early wickets in their lively opening spells to put Africa under pressure.

But Pollock, who turns 34 next month, made the Asian side struggle for wickets as he batted confidently against both pace and spin before being the last man out.

Africa’s batting woes began with the second-ball dismissal of opener AB de Villiers, who was bowled by an Asif delivery that cut in sharply. Skipper Justin Kemp, Loots Bosman, Steve Tikolo and Boeta Dippenaar then fell in quick succession to leave their team in deep trouble.

Veteran Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Sanath Jayasuriya also managed to finish with three wickets.

The Asian batting earlier never looked under pressure as Jayawardene, Yousuf and the Indian trio of Virender Sehwag (45), Sourav Ganguly (32) and Yuvraj Singh (31) made merry on a good batting track.

Debutant seamer Morne Morkel of South Africa was the most successful bowler for Africa with 3-68. His brother Albie and paceman Chigumbura grabbed two wickets apiece.

Sehwag and Ganguly had put the Asian side on course for a big total with a brisk 68-run stand for the second wicket off just 49 deliveries. Jayawardene, who led Sri Lanka to the World Cup final in April, and Yousuf then built on the Indian duo’s efforts to ensure the African side chased a stiff target.

The remaining two day-night matches will be played in Chennai on Saturday and Sunday.

Asia XI won toss
Asia XI
S Jayasuriya c De Villiers b M Morkel 14
V Sehwag b Chigumbura 45
S Ganguly b M Morkel 32
*M Jayawardene c Pollock b Tikolo 65
Mohammad Yousuf c De Villiers b A Morkel 66
Yuvraj Singh c Kemp b M Morkel 31
†M S Dhoni run out 2
Harbhajan Singh c Pollock b Chigumbura 20
Mashrafe Mortaza c De Villiers b A Morkel 13
Zaheer Khan not out 6
Extras (b2, lb3, nb2, w16) 23
Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) 317
Fall: 1-36, 2-104, 3-126, 4-220, 5-274, 6-276, 7-279, 8-307, 9-317
Bowling: M Morkel 10-1-68-3, Odoyo 10-0-52-0, Chigumbura 9-0-56-2, A Morkel 10-0-64-2, Tikolo 8-0-49-1, Kemp 3-0-23-0

Africa XI
AB de Villiers b Asif 4
L Bosman c Jayawardene b Zaheer 2
B Dippenaar b Zaheer 10
S Tikolo hit wkt b Asif 5
*J Kemp b Asif 5
†M Boucher b Jayasuriya 25
S Pollock c Yousuf b Mortaza 130
A Morkel c Dhoni b Jayasuriya 9
E Chigumbura c Yousuf b Jayasuriya 40
T Odoyo c sub (Tharanga) b Harbhajan 39
M Morkel not out 4

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