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How Steve Waugh "dropped it" against India, reveals Ganguly

Steve Waugh's famous "you just dropped the World Cup, mate" quip is regarded as one of cricket's legendary quotes. But a new book reveals how a similar comment backfired.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2003 03:14 IST

Steve Waugh's famous "you just dropped the World Cup, mate" quip to South African Herschelle Gibbs during the 1999 tournament in England is regarded as one of cricket's legendary quotes.

Gibbs, whose missed catch enabled the Australian captain to compile a match-winning century and turn his team's fortunes, may be relieved to know that a similar comment by Waugh against India backfired miserably.

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly describes the incident in a soon-to-be-released book Ground Rules, excerpts of which were published in a Kolkata-based newspaper on Wednesday.

It happened during Australia's memorable tour of India in early 2001, when Ganguly's men fought back from a heavy defeat in the first Test and a follow-on in the second to win the series 2-1.

Australia were required to make 384 to win the second Test at Kolkata after India, following on 274 runs behind, compiled a mammoth 657 runs in the second innings.

"Australia got off to a solid start with Michael Slater and Mathew Hayden putting on 74 in 23 overs, but once Slater went we were in with a chance," Ganguly recalled in the book.

"Just before tea on the final day when they were only three wickets down, I dropped a sharp chance off Steve Waugh at backward short leg.

"Maybe if he had said nothing, the game would have drifted to a draw, the result that appeared to be its natural conclusion.

"But Waugh could not resist the chirp, You just dropped the Test, mate.

"Sometimes sledging can work against you and, on this occasion, it had the effect of geeing up the Indians.

"Immediately after tea, Harbhajan Singh got Waugh out and Rahul Dravid gave him a send-off from slip asking who had given away the Test match now," Ganguly wrote in the book.

Australia were shot out in the dramatic final session of the Test, before India carved out a narrow victory in the final Test at Chennai to win one of the greatest series played in recent years.

Ground Rules looks at cricket through the various Test grounds in the world. The Indian venues included are the 100,000-capacity Eden Gardens in Kolkata and the Chepauk ground in Chennai.

Ganguly's India will renew their rivaly against Waugh's Australia in a four-Test series down under later this year.

First Published: Sep 03, 2003 17:05 IST