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Young guns fire in Brisbane win

The Indian team's joy as the last Australian wicket fell in Brisbane was that of a group of youngsters who had realised that the neighbourhood bully's hold on them had broken.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2004 00:27 IST

The Indian team's joy as the last Australian wicket fell in Brisbane was that of a group of youngsters who had realised that the neighbourhood bully's hold on them had broken.

It has been a long, long time since the Indians have celebrated a limited-overs victory over Australia on their home turf. The last win was in 1991, and many of the current crop were too young to have any recollection of that.

What makes this victory that much more a happy occasion is the fact that India went into the game without two key players — Virender Sehwag and Ajit Agarkar — and the young inexperienced Indian bowlers, Irfan Pathan, Lakshmipathy Balaji and debutant Rohan Gavaskar, had a huge task in front of them, that of stopping the rampaging Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. Many better bowlers have tried, and failed in this endeavour.

But the boys rose to the challenge like men. They weathered the attack, and though Hayden went on to score a cracking hundred, the youngsters cornered the glory, combining to grab eight of the ten Aussie wickets.

The joy was obvious but the camaraderie was what warmed the heart. Balaji dropped Hayden off Pathan, but as the batsman departed two balls later, the entire team turned to the depressed medium-pacer, surrounding him and carrying him on the tide of euphoria.

But while the youthful enthusiasm is to be savoured and applauded, the contribution of the veterans in the side cannot be ignored. Make no mistake, Australia can reach almost any target, so a huge one of 300-plus was a must for the young bowlers to stand a chance. Sourav Ganguly threw down the gauntlet, Sachin Tendulkar braved injury, VVS Laxman amazed with his strokeplay and Rahul Dravid provided the solidity. Team performance, often absent earlier was perfectly in place on Sunday.

First Published: Jan 19, 2004 00:27 IST