Aussie fans upset Gilchrist
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Aussie fans upset Gilchrist

Adam Gilchrist lashed home fans for taking a "soft option" by booing the under-fire Australian cricketers as they toiled with limited success against India.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2004 23:39 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Adam Gilchrist lashed home fans for taking a "soft option" by booing the under-fire Australian cricketers as they toiled with limited success against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

The boos came when Stuart MacGill dropped V.V.S. Laxman at midwicket when he was on 177 before India reached stumps at 650 for five at the end of day two.

Gilchrist said the 41,000 fans who came in the hope of seeing skipper Steve Waugh bat in his final Test would have been disappointed at the day's proceedings but that was no excuse to turn against their team.

"The crowd has been hyped-up and built up hoping for a huge performance from the Australian team, obviously for Steve Waugh, but it hasn't panned out that way," Gilchrist said on Saturday.

"It's not through any lack of application by us but by a brilliant performance by the Indians. So there's probably a mixture of frustration and disappointment that the crowd's not part of a fairy tale that they hoped for.

"And it's the end of a long day when they've probably had a fair amount to drink too, but it's a pretty easy option to boo - it's a soft, cheap option to boo - because we're trying our best."

But Gilchrist said the boos had not affected the team.

"We know as quickly as they boo, the moment we do something well they'll cheer - that's just the fickle nature of the business we're in."

Gilchrist refused to accept that the match was lost even though Australia was staring at the daunting prospect of making 451 runs at this stage just to avoid the follow-on.

"We never give up hope. Whilst there's a competition still on we're still a chance," he said.

The wicketkeeper-batsman said the past two days -- in which India has amassed the most runs by a touring team in a single innings -- had been the hardest in his four years playing for his country.

"It's the toughest home series (in which) I've been involved - it's just been a real challenge for us to try to find ways of getting these guys out.

"It's been tough work - it's been physically and mentally taxing."

He admitted the absence of Australia's best bowling attack had been a factor in India's great batting performances.

With Glenn McGrath injured, Shane Warne suspended, Brett Lee unavailable for two matches in this series and Jason Gillespie out for one, Australia has struggled to impose itself with the ball.

"What India have been able to do is bat long periods of time against us and I don't know whether that's because we haven't had McGrath, Warne, Lee and Gillespie fit for the whole series at once.

"I don't know whether (their absence) means we haven't been able to knock teams over or that the Indians have played exceptionally well. I sense a bit of both."

First Published: Jan 03, 2004 18:57 IST