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India tame Aussies in their own den

India beat world champions Australia on their home soil before a capacity crowd at the Gabba.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2004 15:00 IST

Yet another superb batting display marked by an unbeaten century by man-of-the-match VVS Laxman, and excellent bowling by rookies L Balaji and Irfan Pathan, enabled India to beat world champions Australia on their home soil after a gap of 12 years before a capacity crowd at the Gabba on Sunday.

India's 19-run victory in the tri-series match played under lights made amends for the debacle at Melbourne in the opening tie when the visitors frittered away a winning position to go down by 18 runs.

After posting a record 303 for four, mainly built around a heroic unbeaten 103 by VVS Laxman, the Indian bowlers stuck to their task admirably to stop the world champions at 284 in 49.4 overs despite a brilliant 109 by Matthew Hayden.

Apart from Laxman's 113-ball 103, Sachin Tendulkar defied an ankle injury to score 86 and Rahul Dravid hit a quickfire 74 to provide the foundation for a rare Indian victory over the hosts who kept losing wickets at regular intervals to suffer their first defeat in the tri-series.

The defeat notwithstanding, Australia were leading the table with 18 points from four outings followed by India's 12 from three. Zimbabwe, the third team in the competition, are yet to open their account.

India's win against a full strength Australia was all the more remarkable given the fact that barring Anil Kumble and Ashish Nehra, the rest of the bowlers were raw and highly inexperienced.

In the absence of an injured Ajit Agarkar, who had a career-best haul at Melbourne, rookie pacers Laxmipathy Balaji and Irfan Pathan did well to restrict the visitors picking up seven wickets between them.

Pathan, though proved expensive, finishing with three for 64 in his 9.4 overs while Balaji returned with four for 48 in 10 overs.

Pathan's scalp included dangerous openers Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden. Pathan's third victim was Michael Clarke, who was the second highest scorer for the home team with a cameo 42.

Balaji, on ther otherhand, always bowled a probing line to test most of the Australian batsmen and hardly gave away anything with some disciplined bowling.

The Australians got off to a fliying start as the Hayden-Gilchrist duo put on 46 for the first wicket from a mere 5.4 overs before the wicketkeeper-batsman's attempted pull off Pathan went into the hands of Balaji at mid-on.

Balaji himself enjoyed his best day of the summer, claiming Ricky Ponting (7) and Damien Martyn (1) in his first spell of 7 overs for 38 runs.

Hayden then put on 47 runs for the fourth wicket with Andrew Symonds (20) before the latter became Rohan Gavaskar's maiden victim in his very first over.

Gavaskar faced only three deliveries during India's innings but given the ball in the 23rd over struck immediately by diving to his right and plucking a brilliant return catch.

Great drama centred around Hayden's hundred and his dismissal a little later as Australia completed their 200 runs in the 33rd over.

He was lucky to survive a run out chance when on 98 when Yuvraj singh's throw at striker's end just missed the stumps with Hayden struggling to get into the crease.

The next ball Hayden struck Gavaskar in the outfield and joyously waved his bat after running for two runs only to find umpire Peter Parker declare it a run short.

The hundred came ball later when Hayden pushed it on the off-side, facing only 98 balls for his three-figure knock.

Hayden then lofted a catch to long-on off Pathan but the ball hit fielder Balaji's chest before trickling past the ropes. Couple of deliveries later, he edged Pathan to Dravid behind the stumps.

The left-handed opener made 109 runs from 107 balls with 12 fours, this being his third one-day hundred in his 84th match.

India batted as well as they could, powered on by Laxman's third one-day hundred and his successive three-figure stands for the second and third wicket with Tendulkar and Dravid (74) to make 303 for 4, their highest ever score in Australia and the best seen at the Gabba.

Australia's disappointment was mirrored by Brett Lee's one for 83 from his 10 overs, the worst ever bowling show by any bowler in Australia and the second worst by an Australian bowler -- topped by Lee himself who went for 85 runs against Pakistan at Cardiff, England in 2001.

Laxman, walking in to bat in the 8th over, had to compromise with his batting style as he made quite a few slogs and uncharacteristic cross-batted shots to reach his third one-day hundred from 113 balls with eight fours.

Laxman was inspired by a courageous knock from Tendulkar who hobbled on one leg, refused a runner, and still gave India a base from where to aim for their best-ever total in Australia.

Tendulkar twisted his right ankle early while attempting a single in the second over but still smashed 86 from 95 balls.

The little master was so much in pain he nearly always used his bat as a crutch after playing on the front foot in his innings. He received attention from physio Andrew Leipus, had a crepe bandaged put around his ankle at the first drinks interval, but still batted till the 29th over when he hit a return catch off the backfoot to Andrew Symonds.

Tendulkar took a heavy toll on Lee who was smacked for 30 runs in his first three overs as India raised their first hundred in the 19th over.

Earlier, Ganguly (18), coming out to open in the absence of Virender Sehwag, had just hit Jason Gillespie over covers for a four and six and then smashed Brad Williams on the off-side for a four when he was taken by surprise by a lifting delivery and lobbed up an easy return catch.

Sehwag was ruled out of the match because of a shoulder sprain.

Tendulkar and Laxman then put on 110 runs for the second wicket from 125 balls and set the launching pad which propelled India past their previous best of 270 in Australia -- made at the MCG at the start of the series.

Dravid seemed eager and fresh from the break of the last few days and ran brilliantly to raise his half century from a mere 49 balls with three fours.

The Indian vice-captain twice put Ian Harvey for fours in the 48th over before lifting a catch straight to long off fielder, bringing to an end an entertaining stand of 133 from 118 balls.

His knock came off only 64 balls and contained four fours.

Next man Yuvraj Singh did not last long as he was yorked by Lee's last delivery of the 10th over for five.

Scorecard

First Published: Jan 19, 2004 12:19 IST