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Indians blow Australia away

Faisal Shariff | October 26, 2003 19:05 IST
Last Updated: October 28, 2003 15:28 IST

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Sachin Tendulkar (left) with VVS Laxman

The Indian team celebrated Diwali today.   


Crushing world champions Australia by 37 runs in the TVS Cup at the Roop Singh Stadium in Gwalior,  India extracted a degree of revenge for the humiliating world cup defeats in South Africa.


Led astutely by skipper Rahul Dravid, India flattened the Aussie challenge after openers Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden wove a 132-run opening partnership.


Australia then lost seven wickets for 53 runs and the result was a foregone conclusion.


Zaheer Khan came back after a forgettable opening spell to pick three wickets and the Indian spinners finished the game with superlative performances.   


India will, however, regret not taking the bonus point and restricting Australia within 226 runs.


Australia finished at 246-9 and lost the game by 37 runs.

Earlier in the day, centuries from Sachin Tendulkar, who won the man of the match award, and V V S Laxman along with a late assault from Yuvraj Singh saw India reach 284-5. One run, however, was deducted from the Indian total by the umpires leaving the Aussies to get 284 for a win. 

Indian innings:

Retaining the same eleven that played New Zealand in the rain-curtailed Chennai one-dayer, Rahul Dravid won the toss and elected to bat on another typical shirtfront of a wicket.

Ricky Ponting picked four seamers and a lone specialist spinner Bradd Hogg, banking on his part-time spinners Michael Bevan and Andrew Symonds to chip in with a few in the middle overs.   

On the 2001 one-day series in India, left-arm pacer Nathan Bracken dismissed Sachin Tendulkar twice. This afternoon Bracken --- having remodelled his action after a shoulder and ankle surgery --- faced Tendulkar's wrath who despatched him to the boundary four times in his opening spell.

This after Bracken picked up his first wicket of the tour angling one across Virender Sehwag, inducing an edge that flew to Matthew Hayden at first slip. Sehwag was gone for a duck and the Aussies were jumping with joy.

The gangly Bracken was soon hit out of the attack as was his partner Brad Williams who was collared by VVS Laxman. The smooth Hyderabadi hit him for two successive boundaries in one over. Stout like Shane Warne, Williams was a shade quicker than Bracken but bowled the wrong line --- middle and leg -- to the Indians who flicked him off the hips.   

Andy Bichel must have rued his decision to shoot off his mouth. Looking to dominate Tendulkar, Bichel was soon lost in the woods with even Laxman joining in and slapping him to the fence.

The wicket had nothing to offer for the seamers and the second-string Aussie bowling attack wasn't anywhere as disciplined as Glenn McGrath or half as fast through as Brett Lee.

Tendulkar drove the ball for his ninth boundary and reached his 63rd half-century playing his 316th one-dayer. To maintain a mind-boggling strike rate of 86.48 per hundred balls and amassing 12000 runs is nothing if not extraordinary.

Among leading run-scorers in the abridged version of the game with more than 6000 runs only Sir Vivian Richards and Sanath Jayasuriya have a higher strike rate. Stats sometimes do reveal the whole story.

Ponting leading Australia for the first time in India realised what it took Steve Waugh to win the one-day series the last time they toured, with all his bowlers suffering the hostile Indian batting onslaught. 

The Indian hundred came off 20 overs and the Tendulkar-Laxman combine continued sailing at five an over at the halfway stage.

Laxman raised his half-century of 74 balls and though it was a tad slow with almost 50 dot balls, it ensured that Tendulkar did not have to bother about wickets tumbling at the other end.

Symonds bowling his gentle offies dropped a sharp caught and bowled chance when Laxman was on 60.  

Ponting -- after his seamers failed him -- fell back on his slow bowlers and it paid off as the scoring rate dipped below the five run mark for the first time in the innings.

Left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg was easily the pick of the Aussie bowlers summoning his complete array; looping the ball, turning it a fair amount, varying the pace and slowing the rate down.

He was unlucky not to have got Tendulkar's wicket when he was on 94. The ball pitched on middle and hit him in line with the stumps. England's Neil Mallender turned down the appeal.

With Laxman besieged with the thought of having to accelerate and Tendulkar calmly chasing another one-day ton, the Indian run-rate plunged.

Tendulkar registered his 35th one-day hundred in the 39th over of 117 balls with nine fours, though his second fifty did not include a single four barring a six of Ian Harvey which was hit to spread the field.       

But just when the time was right for a Tendulkar offensive, Bracken induced a fine edge to Adam Gilchrist at the wicket. This was the third time Bracken had dismissed Tendulkar. (192-2)   

Tendulkar's departure saw Yuvraj Singh stride out to the crease ahead of skipper Rahul Dravid.

And Yuvraj did not disappoint.

After getting a measure of the wicket in quick time, Yuvraj collared Williams for 18 runs of his 8th over.

He slapped a towering six over mid-wicket of the first ball of the 45th over. After two dot balls, Yuvraj got an inside edge that beat the keeper to the fence of the fourth ball. A fierce drive through extra cover followed an eye-to-eye duel between Yuvraj and Williams. No words were exchanged but the stares exchanged were searing. Williams lost his line in the last ball and it travelled to the fence for another boundary.  

Laxman duly reached his second one-day hundred off 132 balls in the 47th over. His first hundred was also against the Aussies and in the 34 one-dayers in between the two hundreds Laxman did not play Australia even once.

Having batted for more than three hours, running 47 singles, and eight twos, Laxman' weary legs gave in and he was caught short of his crease by a direct hit from Symonds.

Yuvraj for now was dictating the Aussie bowlers with a special affinity for Williams. He picked 22 runs of the 12 balls he faced off Williams. Despite two centuries already in the series Yuvraj's blitzkrieg of 44 got the maximum cheers from the 30,000 odd spectators at the ground. All his fours were through the offside field and none of the Aussie bowlers managed to keep him quiet. He was finally dismissed hitting a full toss from Williams to Symonds at long on.         

Ajit Agarkar promoted up the order came in, converted Bracken's attempted yorkers into volleys and clubbed them to the fence. He was the last man out caught of the last ball of the innings for a 10-ball 22.

Twelve full tosses from the Aussie bowlers cost them 24 runs and 23 over-pitched deliveries were milked for 35 runs.  

India finished at 284-5 scoring 90 runs in the last ten overs, and 136 in the last 20.

The Aussie opening bowlers Bracken and Williams went for 120 runs off their 20 overs. Harvey and Bichel could not even finish their quota of ten overs.

Australian innings:

With Matthew Hayden scratching around at the wicket, the Indian opening pair of Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar was in an ideal position to pick an early wicket and put pressure on the middle order.


Zaheer Khan kicked off the Indian innings with his now-routine no balls and wayward line and Agarkar bowled one short ball each over to be smashed to the fence by Gilchrist.


While Hayden laboured hard for his runs, Gilchrist was offered a spate of loose deliveries to get the Aussies off to a screaming start.


The Australian inningsThe Aussies reached their fifty in the seventh over and Dravid had no choice but to employ Anil Kumble in the 8th over, which was a maiden and the first of the innings. Harbhajan bowled from the other end and sanity was restored to the proceedings.


Gilchrist scored his half-century off a mere 39 balls and did not even bother to acknowledge the landmark score, planning for the unfinished job at hand.    


In the 13th over Harbhajan lured Hayden out of his crease with Parthiv Patel missing a regulation stumping. Patel's bad form with the gloves continued, questioning the wisdom of having a specialist keeper in the one-day side at the expense of a specialist batsman or a bowler.   


In the 16th over, Gilchrist swept Kumble to the mid-wicket fence but Zaheer Khan making a valiant running effort grassed the difficult chance much to the chagrin of the bowler. 


The Aussies could, however, score only 36 runs from the ten overs that Kumble-Singh bowled in tandem with a lone boundary. 


Hayden had yet to score a boundary and still it did not put him under pressure because Gilchrist was regularly finding the ropes.


Hayden finally got his first boundary in the 23rd over and gamely continued battling his way out of the rut.


Tendulkar's four overs that cost 30 runs proved to be too expensive at that stage and at the halfway mark a bold move by skipper Dravid to bring back Zaheer Khan paid off.


Gilchrist chanced his arm and was bowled for a well-made 83 of 79 balls. The Australian score was 132-1 and the asking rate despite the good start was a daunting six an over.


Dravid moved in for the kill and brought Kumble back into the attack. His first spell of five overs for 15 runs had slowed down the Aussie juggernaut.


Ponting rocked onto the back foot to punch the ball through mid-on but misread the pace of the wicket and gave a return catch to Kumble. The ball hit the toe of the bat and looped up in the air for the simplest of return catches.


Two big wickets in eight balls and the Indians smelt blood.


Hayden, approaching his half-century, continued to struggle against the spinners and his uncertainty proved to be his downfall. 


He stepped out to Kumble, playing for the turn and missed the ball that continued straight to the keeper Patel who made no mistake in swiping the bails off with Hayden stranded on 47 of 76 balls. (140-3)


Bad luck caught up with the Aussies as Andrew Symonds was adjudged LBW after being rapped on the pads by a Zaheer delivery, which angled into him and would have missed leg stump.


Four wickets had fallen in the space of five overs for 11 runs. India was in the driver's seat and Australia would have to search deep to win this game.


With Michael Bevan -- easily the best finisher in the game -- and Damien Martyn at the crease, the Aussies hunt was very much on.


Dravid faced a tricky situation. After 30 overs, Dravid had only seven overs left between his best bowlers Zaheer, Harbhajan and Kumble. Another 13 overs had to be bowled of which seven were to be bowled by Ajit Agarkar whose three overs had cost 27 runs.


Agarkar was brought back and he seemed to have forgotten his basics yet again, drifting down leg side. 


Dravid decided to rely on the slow bowlers and tossed the ball to Sehwag.


Sehwag having got a blob with the bat proved himself with the ball landing a double blow.


In his third over, he bowled Martyn -- who made the cardinal error of going on the back foot -- through the gate with a straight ball. (176-5)


One ball later a delivery aimed towards Bevan's legs deflected off the pads before dislodging the bails. (177-6)


Continuing with the slow bowlers, Tendulkar bowled Ian Harvey who swung lazily at one that kept low. (185-7)


Seven Australian wickets had fallen for 53 runs and the match was in the bag for India.


Harbhajan Singh had Brad Hogg stumped by Patel (225-8) and the Australians were fighting a lost battle as the asking rate skyrocketed.


Bichel holed out to Mohammad Kaif who took a spectacular running catch as Australia plunged to 229-9.      


Australia finished at 253-9 and lost the game by 37 runs.  

Anil Kumble finished with figures of 10 overs for 28 runs and two prize wickets of Ponting and Hayden. 

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