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Rain halts Chennai fireworks

Faisal Shariff | October 23, 2003 17:55 IST
Last Updated: October 23, 2003 19:23 IST

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Rain made sure its presence was felt despite the histrionics of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman at the Chidambaram stadium in Chennai on Thursday.

After India had scored 141 for 3 in 26.5 overs against New Zealand in the first one-day international of the tri-series, with Tendulkar unbeaten on 48 and Yuvraj on 29, it intervened and forced the match to be abandoned.

With no provision for a reserve day, the teams will take a point each from the match.

India meet Australia at Gwalior in the next match on Sunday.

India's favourite past time was back. After ten boring days of Test cricket, the crowds packed the stadium for their staple diet of one-day cricket.

Electing to take first strike on a wicket with a million runs in it, stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid ensured that his batters made first use of the wicket, as he did not want to bother about the Duckworth-Lewis rain rule, with the weatherman predicting an 80 per cent chance of showers later in the evening.

Parthiv Patel was inducted in the eleven to keep wickets and Ajit Agarkar was picked ahead of L Balaji to open the bowling with Zaheer Khan.

The fireworks were set off in Jacob Oram's first over, when Sehwag slashed hard and ballooned the ball to Chris Cairns at the third man fence. Cairns though failed to hold on to the catch and the ball went for a four.

The only difference between Sehwag playing Tests and one-dayers is the colour of his jersey. Following up on his belligerent century in the Mohali Test, he blasted the Kiwi bowlers with disdain. He slashed hard at Darryl Tuffey and this time got maximum as the ball sailed over the third-man boundary. Boundaries burst from his bat even as a gentleman by the name of Tendulkar stood quietly at the non-striker's end.

Planting his front foot to the pitch of the ball, Sehwag drove with aplomb, though he must be wary that he won't be given such driving length in Australia. In Australia, the only driving a batsman does is off the field.

Tendulkar soon got into the act and 24 runs were scored off two overs from Oram and Tuffey that saw India off to a screaming start. 

Cairns returned to the international circuit with a wicket in his first over. After Sehwag sent him to the fence in the over, he bowled a delivery outside off-stump, which Sehwag chopped onto his stumps. After 31 runs off 29 balls and five fours, Sehwag's innings was cut short with India 53-1 from nine overs.

But his departure did not provide succor for the Kiwi bowlers. Adjudged man of the Test series, VVS Laxman batted with the aggression of a raging bull. He found the fence with alarming regularity. You missed Tendulkar momentarily at the other end.

Fleming's bowling changes were ineffective. The flat track entertained the crowd and those watching television. Bowlers are the only species that fail to enjoy the batting histrionics on Indian wickets.

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