Hongkong brought down to earth with a bump by Indians

AIR India went into a deadly spin at Cox's Road yesterday - and Hongkong crashed to a humiliating 132-run defeat.

Hongkong, represented by a Cricket Association XI, were helpless against the guile of Air India's two spinners Sandeep Joshi and Piyush Soneji.

Chasing Air India's 234 all out, the territory were skittled for 111 in 38 overs, Joshi taking five wickets and Soneji claiming three.

Right-arm leg-breaker Joshi's trickery totally bamboozled the Hongkong middle order with Ross Greer, Steve Atkinson and Leigh Beaman being stumped out in almost identical fashion by wicket-keeper Nandan Phadnis.

Ravi Sujanani came close to falling to the Joshi-Phadnis partnership, but was judged to have his trailing foot on the crease after a strong appeal.

Opener Stewart Brew was Hongkong's most successful batsman, scoring 26 before being bowled by paceman Ashertosh Dube.

With the Air India spinners grabbing eight of the Hongkong wickets, it proved that the territory's batsmen are not used to facing spin of the quality provided by the tourists.

And the overall strength of the Indians does not bode well for next two local sides lined up to face the tourists.

Air India, having beaten the strongest local side yesterday, today take on a Connaught League XI and on Monday play a President's XI.

Today's match will be played on an artificial track, but Joshi is confident his side will be able to provide another quality performance.

Air India, having been put into bat, made comfortable progress at the crease with a 62-run opening partnership between Sachin Koli and Kirti Patel.

Koli was first out, being caught by Hongkong captain Pat Fordham off Leigh Beaman's bowling.

Patel went on to make 50 while number three batsman Satish Samant scored 77.

Sujanani came on late in the innings and cleared the Air India tail-enders, finishing with three wickets for 24 runs off 3.4 overs.

Yarman Vachha finished with two wickets for 50 off nine overs.

Paul Cresswell bowled tightly for six overs, conceding 20 runs, but had to be retired after pulling muscles in his rib.

He batted despite the injury but failed to score.