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Board XI take 104-run first innings lead against England

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Vadodara, Feb 24 (UNI) Test discard Gautam Gambhir hit a brilliant 108 and shared two fruitful half-century partnerships with Dheeraj Jadhav (20) and Suresh Raina (62) as Board President's XI made 342 for 8 declared to take a vital 104-run first innings lead over England team on the penultimate day of their three-day warm-up match played here today.

The visitors, who toiled hard all through the day without much gain on a placid wicket, were 10 for the loss of opener Andrew Strauss's wicket in 8 overs when stumps were drawn for the day.

England, grappling with fitness problems with five of their top players, including skipper Michael Vaughan, will try their best to manage a draw tomorrow in order to save the side from further humiliation before the start of the first Test match at Nagpur.

Delhi southpaw Gambhir, who left the Board XI's score at 93 for one yesterday after surviving a chance at 12, carried the score to 187 for 2 at lunch with the able support from Jadhav and Raina.

Acting England captain Marcus Trescothick played all his tricks with six of his frontline bowlers to dislodge Gambhir, who finally left scoring 108 from 221 balls with 15 boundaries in the post-lunch session when Board XI were comfortably placed at 243 for three.

Veteran all-rounder Flintoff (3/74), who shared 3 wickets each with Stephen Harmison (3/72), had the prized wicket of Gambhir through Strauss positioned at point. Raina, who fell prey to left-arm spinner Monty Panesar as the fourth wicket in the 84th over, had put on 86 runs for the third wicket partnership with Gambhir. His 62 made from 119 balls was studded with 6 fours.

Hoping for a possible outright victory to avenge the CCI XI's massive 238 runs defeat in the opening warm-up match against England, Board XI skipper Venugopal Rao, who contributed 25 runs, declared the innings at 342 for 8 hardly 30 minutes before close. MORE UNI SS DH KN2037

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