Cairns speedy ton condemns India to new loss

19 January 1999

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Jan 19 (AFP) - Chris Cairns hammered the fifth fastest one-day century in history to guide New Zealand to an emphatic 70 run win over India here Tuesday.

Cairns, after surviving a very strong caught behind appeal on 51, hit 115 and helped New Zealand to 300 for eight off their 50 overs. India crashed from a promising start to 230 all out in 45.3 overs and the one day series finished tied at 2-2.

Indian skipper Mohammad Azahruddin may now regret putting New Zealand into bat after winning the toss, especially after he was forced to leave Sachin Tendulkar out with an injured arm.

Playing in his 100th one-day match in front of 15,000 people, Cairns hit his second limited overs century in 75 balls and 99 minutes and it included five fours and six sixes.

``I got a great reception when I came to the wicket and it was great to repay them,'' Cairns said. ``It was my day out there and I'm glad to have taken advantage of it. I got on a roll out there and I got to 97 and I thought I would try and milk it and get the ton.''

When he was finally dismissed for 115 he had played the significant hand in New Zealand scoring 121 off the last 10 overs. Cairns was fortunate to escape being given out caught behind on 51 to what appeared a clear edge off medium pacer Robin Singh.

Azahruddin reacted by throwing the ball into the ground and the Indians did not applaud his hundred or when he left the field. Azharuddin said they were not happy with the decision but did not want to make any other comment, though he added he congratulated Cairns afterward=2E Cairns insisted he was unaware of any touch.

He had another let-off when dropped on 75 by Nikhil Chopra but after that went on the rampage. The fastest one-day hundred belongs to Pakistan's Shahid Alfridi, who took 37 balls against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996-97.

New Zealand coach Steve Rixon was thrilled to square the series. ``I think we deserved to. There isn't much between the sides. I think the last 10 overs were crucial and I rate us as up there with the best sides in the world batting in that situation.''

India momentarily threatened New Zealand's total when openers Saurav Ganguly and Ajay Jadeja added 50 in 47 balls. But when Ganguly was out for 60 in 50 balls, the run rate slowed and wickets fell at regular intervals.

Azharuddin gave his side a glimmer of hope in the middle of the innings with a fine knock of 63 but he was unable to find the boundary on enough occasions. When Azharuddin was seventh out for 63 with India's total on 202 the innings disintegrated.

Nayan Mongia, Anil Kumble and Venkatesh Prasad all fell cheaply leaving New Zealand comfortable winners. Medium pacer Chris Harris was the chief beneficiary in the closing overs picking up three late wickets to end with four for 40 off 9.3 overs.

The pick of the bowlers was veteran medium pacer Gavin Larsen. The 36-year-old did a sterling job in mid-innings restricting the batsmen to singles and picking up the wicket of Jadeja for 25.

The series was deadlocked at 2-2 because one match was washed out. New Zealand won the test series 2-1 and now goes on to face a home series against a powerful South Africa. India returns home to a fraught series against Pakistan.

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