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'Bombay Duck' ruffles Aussie feathers

December 15, 2003 17:06 IST

Ajit AgarkarAjit Agarkar -- otherwise known as 'The Bombay Duck' -- took his revenge on Australia on Monday, a revenge which will seem even sweeter if his Test-best bowling is capped by Indian success in the second Test.

Agarkar, a slim-as-a-stump bowling all-rounder, has been a figure of fun in Australia for years.

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On India's last Test visit Down Under, Agarkar earned his sobriquet after ending the series with five consecutive ducks, his batting efforts lasting one ball, one ball, one ball, one ball and then two.

To make matters worse, Agarkar then made a pair in the one Test he played against the Australians in 2001, giving him an extraordinary seven noughts in a row against the world champions.

When he scored his first run of 12 in the drawn first Test in Brisbane earlier his month, he raised his bat to acknowledge the crowd's mocking cheers.

If Australia underestimated the 26-year-old player from Mumbai on Monday, however, they should not have.

Despite his batting problems against them, Agarkar has always featured with his whippy fast-medium seam bowling.

Four times in his previous 17 Tests he has taken three wickets in an innings, with Australia the opponents each time.

He eclipsed that with six for 41 off 16.2 overs -- and four for four off his last 19 deliveries -- on the fourth day of the second Test on Monday. "I probably got lucky," he said.

If India seal a spectacular victory 24 hours later -- "if we're patient and keep our heads we should get the job done" -- Agarkar will surely be remembered for those six wickets rather than those seven brief innings.

India need 230 for victory and were 37 without loss at the close on the fourth day.

He will never be a Kapil Dev but Agarkar, who scored a maiden century against England last year and who once cracked a one-day 50 off 21 balls against Zimbabwe, should earn some Australian respect now as well as a new nickname.

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