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Win in Adelaide, celebrations in Kolkata

December 16, 2003 13:19 IST

Kolkata turned into a raucous cauldron of happy emotions as Indian cricketers scripted a historic victory over the 'invincible' Australians on their home soil to take a 1-0 lead in the four Test series Tuesday.

As if symbolising the uncertainty with which the Indian batsmen began their hunt for victory this morning, dark clouds gathered over the city and a nagging drizzle persisted.

By the time the final run had been struck, a streak of sunlight had pierced the sombre clouds -- as if to underline India's shining performance at the Oval, Adelaide.

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"When we began the day, the scoreboard held the interest of both teams as the match could have gone either way," said Soumitra Dasgupta, a 32-year-old banker. He of course bunked office to witness the historic win.

"Simply great. The myth that the Aussies are invincible on their home turf has been broken," said Ashok Malhotra, former Test opener.

He showered Rahul Dravid with lavish praise. "Test batting was at its best when Rahul Dravid played."

Immediately after the win skipper Sourav Ganguly spoke to his mother. "He is very happy. But he said there were still two Tests to go and he thinks this is India's best chance to win a series abroad," said a member of the Ganguly family over the phone.

The city's neighbourhoods were ready for the celebrations. Immediately after the winning stroke, hundreds filled the streets.

They beat drums and tin containers and danced with joy. Victory marches were taken out at many places.

The merrymakers smeared each other with red vermilion. Several clubs, including some from Ganguly's Behala neighborhood, distributed sweets among the members and even passers-by.

"This is a day to remember. We will celebrate in a bigger way in a day or two as today many of the boys have either gone to office or college," said Sudhangshu Mullick of Young Sporting Union club.

"It was small scare earlier today. I think it is better if our team stops giving us these small scares. We shouldn't have lost six wickets," remarked Jyoti Ranjan Parui, a 43-year-old auto-rickshaw driver.

"I hope we can capitalise on this. Now that we have seized the initiative, we shouldn't give it away and try to make it 2-0 in the next Test," commented Manisha Bhattacharya, a 53-year-old housewife.

It was learnt that West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya was trying to get in touch with Ganguly to congratulate him.

M Chhaya in Kolkata