Gilchrist, Symonds power Aussies to win
Aussies made a mockery of India's modest total of 203, racing to the target with 18 overs to spare.india Updated: Feb 02, 2004 12:29 IST
Australia took the opportunity to gain a psychological edge going into the finals by peppering the Indian top order batsmen with short pitched deliveries on the bouncy WACA pitch.
The assault was headed by Brett Lee who gained enormous confidence from the outing and this was built on by an outlandish batting onslaught led by Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds.
If the strong Indian batting line-up has an Achilles heel it is that most of them stay side-on when they play back in defence. The pitch that is most likely to expose this weakness is the WACA with its extreme bounce and pace and when you only get to play there once or twice in five years it's a difficult assignment. And that is exactly what happened to the talented triumvirate Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly.
They were all caught behind the wicket edging in defence, while Rahul Dravid was ambushed in the same area but playing more of an attacking shot. In a series that had been dominated by the batsmen suddenly the bowlers had the upper hand. The bowler who engineered this turnaround was Lee who has regained his confidence and was consistently above the 150 kph mark.
In addition to his pace he bowled a good line and length and with the easterly wind blowing he was able to swing the ball away from the right-handers. It was a great display of fast bowling and only a determined effort from Yuvraj Singh and the tailenders enabled India to sneak past two hundred.
The big question is whether this experience will have a lasting affect on the Indian batsmen with the finals series just around the corner. The best approach would be to forget the experience as they don't have to play a finals match at the WACA. The domination of the ball continued as Ajit Agarkar swung the ball to get two early wickets and the fast improving Lakshmipathy Balaji produced an outswinger that accounted for Michael Clarke. However, that was the end of the dominance as Gilchrist and Symonds mounted a searing counter-attack to pulverise the Indian bowling. Their daring stroke play added one hundred and twenty two off just ninety seven balls and two of Symonds sixes travelled further than an Englishman does on his holidays.
Thanks to this outrageous but entertaining partnership Australia was able to coast home with eighteen overs to spare. This was a good boost for Australia but it will only harm India's finals chances if they dwell on the game; they'd be well advised to forget it before they sit down for supper.
First Published: Feb 01, 2004 08:31 IST