Australia clinch VB Series title
Australia handed India one of the worst ODI defeats to clinch the best-of-three finals.India's record at SydneyUpdated: Feb 09, 2004 13:24 IST
It was ground hog day at the SCG with Australia replicating their mammoth World Cup final score as the Indians succumbed after fighting hard all summer. The Australians got a sniff of supremacy at the WACA and then followed it with two glittering final performances.
Once an international cricket team gets the psychological upper hand it's very difficult for the opposition to regain the advantage. On this occasion it was Matthew Hayden who led the onslaught with his confident brand of batting; walking out of his crease and driving the ball through the field and occasionally back over the bowler's head. One such shot in the tenth over landed well back in the crowd and set the tone as Australia set about demolishing the Indian bowling.
Australia appeared intent on not only clinching the series but also inflicting mental scarring, so it will be quite a time before the Indian team isn't intimidated by the sight of the gold and green uniform.
What Hayden started, Andrew Symonds completed with a whirlwind knock that included three powerful sixes, two of them drives and one a front foot pull shot.
The Australians may also have been thinking ahead, trying to gain an edge for the Test series that the two teams will contest later this year. Hayden and Gilchrist were absolutely reckless early on with their running between wickets; hitting the ball firmly, straight to the fielders and taking off for a run. They targeted Ganguly as a sluggish fielder and he obliged by misfielding, which did nothing to turn the tide in India's favour.
In stark contrast, Australia fielded brilliantly, with Brett Lee setting the standard in a position that has been out of favour in the modern game. After Virender Sehwag deposited the first ball of the innings over the fine-leg rope, Lee was brought up to leg gully where he took a blinder to get rid of the dangerous opener.
Lee followed up with a good catch in the same position to ambush a more aggressive Sachin Tendulkar and then made it a hat-trick when VVS Laxman spooned a slower delivery back to him. This broke the back of the Indian spirit and what followed was a disappointing finish to a summer that had produced plenty of highlights and competitive cricket. In the end it was the Australians who remained mentally strong through the summer and the Indians wilted. The Aussies will be hoping this final hammering has a lasting affect on India considering the next contest is on their turf.
First Published: Feb 08, 2004 10:02 IST