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World Squash: India lose to Australia

March 09, 2011 20:12 IST

Six-time national champion Saurav Ghosal gave India a glimmer of hope in the opening match but the hosts ended up going down 0-3 to third seed Australia in the second qualifying tie of the Squash World Cup team championship in Chennai on Wednesday.

This was India's second successive defeat in the tournament after losing to title-holders England with an identical scoreline in the first qualifying tie of the biennial World Squash Federation event.

In his last meeting with Cameron Pilley of Australia, in the PSA Masters in Mumbai in December 2009, Ghosal had stunned the world no 14 in a 77-minute marathon.

India's highest-ranked player of all-time took the opening game before an appreciative crowd at the Indian Squash Academy before saving two match balls in the fourth game to force a fifth-game decider - for the second day running.

The tall Australian stuck to his guns, however, and held off the challenge of the 25-year-old world no 24 from Kolkata to record a 9-11 12-10 11-4 10-12 11-5 win after 72 minutes.

"That loss to Saurav in Mumbai was in the back of my mind," admitted Pilley after the match.

"I was disappointed that I didn't close out the match in the fourth, especially after having two match-balls. But Saurav played well to win that game and I had to work hard to hold him off in the fifth – and was really pleased to come through," added the 28-year-old from New South Wales.

A fine performance by Rachael Grinham ensured Australia's victory when the former world champion from Queensland beat Indian teenager Dipika Pallikal 11-3, 11-8, 11-4 and Aaron Frankcomb made it maximum points with an 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 win over Chennai-based Harinder Pal Sandhu.

"India have improved enormously and have benefitted from the momentum of the Commonwealth Games," said Australian team manager Byron Davis.

"It's always a challenge playing a team on their home ground and India can be very dangerous. Rachael played really well today after an excellent game on Tuesday, so she's playing with a lot of confidence.

"So after today's win, we can look forward to our clash with England," added the former world no 14.

India's national coach Cyrus Poncha was not too downcast.

"It could have been so different if Saurav had won that first match. He came so close, but perhaps he was a tiny bit flat after his massive game yesterday against James Willstrop.

"But he has shown that he will soon be a top ten player – these are the warning bells to the rest of the squash world," added Poncha.

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