Waugh says draw a fine achievement for his side
Steve Waugh, whose characteristic 80-run knock helped Australia salvage a draw against India in the final Test, termed the outcome of the match as a "fine achievement" for his side after a "tough series."india Updated: Jan 06, 2004 18:19 IST
Steve Waugh, whose characteristic 80-run knock helped Australia salvage a draw against India in the fourth and final cricket Test here,on Tuesdaytermed the outcome of the match as a "fine achievement" for his side after a "tough series."
Waugh's gritty knock saved the day for Australia as India pressed hard for victory in the final session of the final day reducing the hosts to 204 for four at tea.
Waugh put on 142 runs for the fifth wicket with Simon Katich (77 not out) as his side fought bravely for the draw, finishing at 357 for six while chasing 443 for a win.
The series ended 1-1 with India winning at Adelaide and Australia levelling at Melbourne. The draw also helped India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
"The draw is a fine achievement. It was tough series and India played very well. We loved the challenge during the series which was a fantastic one. I congratulate (Sourav) Ganguly and India for retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy," Waugh said in his final post-match conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Waugh, who pulled the curtains down on his 18-year and 168-match old career, also took the opportunity to express his gratitude towards his teammates, selectors and the country's Cricket Board, Cricket Australia (CA).
"When I started my career, I scored a few runs in the first Test. But today when I see I have played 168 matches, it is a huge bonus.
Thanks selectors for selecting me and having faith in my abilities," Waugh said to a thundering cheer from the capacity crowd which included his family, brother Mark Waugh and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Waugh said he owed a lot to his teammates for his success as a captain.
"It is a pleasure to captain the side. Certainly the talented bunch of cricketers made my job easier... I think I have achieved quite a lot during my playing career."
Top three Indian players -- Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly -- chose the occasion to make public their adulation for the most capped Test cricketer ever.
"For all the youngsters, Steve Waugh is an inspiration. He is an example for all the players," Tendulkar said after receiving the Man of the Match award for his unbeaten knocks of 241 and 60 not out in the match.
Vice-captain Dravid, who was named the man of the series for his exceptional tally of 619 runs, said his performance in the series would remain a highlight of his career.
"This was Steve Waugh's last series and I played my part to make it memorable. Steve, all the best for the future."
Ganguly was more forthcoming in his tribute to Waugh saying that he had looked upon the gutsy player ever since he was a youngster.
"All the young cricketers including me have looked upto you (for inspiration). Steve, hope you have a wonderful life after cricket," Ganguly said after receiving 34,000 Australian Dollars for his team's performance in the series.
Ganguly also hailed his players for coming up with a fine performance during the series.
"It was indeed a good experience leading the team. My special thanks to all the players, (coach) John Wright, phyiso Andrew Leipus and Bruce Reid (bowling coach) for the effort they put in during the series," he said.
First Published: Jan 06, 2004 18:19 IST