4th ODI: India v Australia at Visakhapatnam, 3 Apr 2001|
Australia had outplayed India with a superlative batting performance. At 149/7 India were well out of the game when Shane Warne scalped Vijay Dahiya. Harbhajan Singh, clattering the ball all over the park managed to hit his way to 46, falling just short of his' maiden one-day half century. Michael Bevan was at the receiving end of the best part of Harbhajan Singh's assault. Zaheer Khan with a 28-ball 29 (3 fours, 1 six) tried to match Harbhajan Singh (46 runs, 34 balls, 3 fours, 3 sixes) but fell short.
A comprehensive wrap up of the game will be up on the site shortly.
Sachin Tendulkar, after making 62 off just 38 balls, drove a ball from Nathan Bracken straight to Steve Waugh at short cover. VVS Laxman (11) was stumped when he played and missed a ball slanted down the leg side. Rahul Dravid (7) was caught and bowled by Shane Warne and Hemang Badani too did not last long. After playing one classic cover drive Badani (25) drove Steve Waugh into Shane Warne's hands at short cover. Sounds like a tiring procession of wickets? That's exactly what it was for the Indians.
The crowd went quiet at the stadium, batsmen's shoulders drooped and the game was all but over. India had lost four top order wickets and added just 55 runs in 15 overs. At 139/5 India have very little batting to follow. Vijay Dahiya, just at the crease had one run to his name while Robin Singh, prodding and poking rather inelegantly had 15.
Ganguly, going back to his original position at the top of the order was once more in trouble. Not specifically bothered by the short pitched ball, he fumbled his way to 9 off 36 balls, including his first boundary of the series. However, that was all he managed, driving one from Nathan Bracken straight to Shane Warne at short cover.
VVS Laxman watched Sachin Tendulkar blazing away from the pavilion for a time. After coming in too, all Laxman could do was watch as Tendulkar took the Australian attack to pieces. One sweetly timed straight drive is all Laxman could manage as Tendulkar, cut over the infield, flicked past the fielder at short fine leg, drove through covers… You name it, Tendulkar played the shot.
Glenn McGrath, usually on top of the batsmen found himself at the receiving end today and fell to pieces. Spraying the ball around, McGrath was wided more than once and took it upon himself to have a word or two with the umpire. Tendulkar too was not left alone, with McGrath going down the pitch and saying a few things to him as well.
As it turned out, Tendulkar's reply came from his extra heavy blade. Tendulkar struck the ball to the fence 11 times in making 62 not out off just 37 balls. VVS Laxman, unbeaten on 9, kept Tendulkar company as India reached 84/1 after 15 overs.
It was Hayden who won the race to the three figure mark. Moving from 91 to 97 with a clean hit that cleared the ropes on the on side, Hayden managed to employ the sweep well and get to his century off 101 balls. Clearly overjoyed at his effort Hayden acknowledged the crowd's cheers, took his helmet off and kissed the Baggy Green badge. An emotional cricketer, Hayden has managed himself impeccably on this tour of India. Not getting into controversies like some of his team mates, Hayden has won over many admirers both with his efforts with the bat and simply by the way he has conducted himself.
Ricky Ponting was anxious to get to his century and that showed. Stuck on 99 for a few deliveries Ponting hit the ball cleanly, but straight to the fielder on more than one occasion. When the ball was on his pads and full the Tasmanian middle order bat managed to whip the ball through midwicket, registering his century from the 105th ball he faced. A relieved man, Ponting had finally made runs in proportion to his talent on this tour.
The relief however did not last long. Attempting to hit Ajit Agarkar right out of the ground Ponting sliced a ball straight up in the air. Sachin Tendulkar running back a few steps at mid off took a comfortable catch and Ponting (101 runs, 109 balls, 13 fours) was back in the pavilion.
Often, when a wicket falls after a large partnership, another one falls quickly. That was precisely what happened today. Ponting fell on 225 and 21 runs later Hayden was dismissed. Coming down the track to Harbhajan Singh, Hayden (111 runs, 113 balls, 8 fours, 2 sixes) missed a drive and was well down the wicket when Dahiya whipped the bails off.
Harbhajan Singh, who has tormented the visitors on this tour managed just the consolation wicket, conceding 58 runs off his 10 overs.
Steve Waugh (35) played a quick cameo before holing out to long on, trying to clear the ropes. Michael Bevan (43 not out, 41 balls) doing what he does best, played a busy innings, mixing clean hits with good running between the wickets. Shane Lee, coming in at the fall of Steve Waugh's wicket had very little opportunity to peddle his wares, scoring 25 off 11 balls.
Ricky Ponting had a terrible time in the Test matches, averaging under four in the matches of longer duration. However, Steve Waugh backed him completely, saying that he was too good a player to miss out for a long spell. As the fourth one-dayer demonstrated, the Australian skipper's faith was not misplaced. Driving crisply through the line, Ponting concentrated on playing in the 'V' between mid off and mid on.
Matthew Hayden has grown tremendously as a cricketer on this tour of India. Harbhajan Singh, who has troubled all the Australian batsmen on this tour could not get through Hayden's defenses. Using the pace of the wicket well, Hayden turned the ball around the corner with regularity to defy the Indian bowlers.
The mediumpacers filling out the fifth bowler's slot – Robin Singh and Sourav Ganguly proved to be easy pickings for the well set batsmen. Ganguly was no ball prone while Robin Singh drifted down the leg side too often for his own good.
Adam Gilchrist, who played a blinder at Indore not four days ago found that his touch had deserted him. The Australian stumper spent just three minutes at the crease and managed to strike one boundary before falling to Javagal Srinath. Flashing hard at a ball just outside the off stump, Gilchrist found a well pitched ball, just short of a length, and rising on him too hot to handle. The attempted drive through the offside resulted in a thick outside edge. But wait, it was not all over yet. Vijay Dahiya, who had a mediocre game behind the stumps at Indore fumbled, palmed and dabbed at the ball before pouching it. Having dropped Gilchrist in the last game, the least Dahiya could do was hold on to a sitter here.
Gilchrist (6 runs, 5 balls, 1 four) failed to make an impression in the fourth one-dayer.
Hayden was at his calm best, mixing the ingredients of caution and aggression in just the right manner to serve up a dish that will upset the Indians' tummys. Clipping the ball around the park with a straight bat, Hayden seemed to know just where the gaps were in the field. Putting away the loose ball when it was on offer Hayden showed once more that he favoured the pull shot, putting away a Zaheer Khan short ball in style. Ricky Ponting, not enjoying his cricket in India to the fullest possible extent, began well on this occasion. Driving straight and with the full face of the bat, Ponting helped himself to 31 (40 balls, 4 fours) while Hayden motored on with 31 (45 balls, 2 fours) to his name. Australia were a steady if unsensational 74/1 after 15 overs.
India have made just one change to their winning side from Indore. Dinesh Mongia gives way for the veteran Robin Singh, who is making a comeback into the Indian side.
Australia do realise the significance of this match; they have to win to keep their hopes alive in the series. The Aussies seem to have put the rotation system on the backburner. They are fielding the strongest team available from the 14 players they have in India. With Mark Waugh back in Australia with a broken finger, Matthew Hayden will have to produce yet another big knock. Darren Lehmann and Ian Harvey have been left out and Andrew Symonds is the 12th man. Allrounder Shane Lee comes into the Australian side for the first time in this series.
It is a hot and humid day in Vishakapatnam. There have been long queues lining up since early morning. Though the maximum capacity here at the Stadium is 24,000, we might as well see a crowd in excess of 35,000 by the afternoon.
India: *Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Hemang Badani, Robin Singh, + Vijay Dahiya, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, 12th man Yuvraj Singh
Australia:* Steve Waugh, Matthew Hayden, + Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, Ricky Ponting, Michael Bevan, Shane Lee, Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming, Shane Warne, Nathan Bracken, 12th man Andrew Symonds
Umpires: Messrs GA Pratapkumar, SK Tarapore Third Umpire: Alok Bhattacharjee Match Referee: CW Smith
Date-stamped : 04 Apr2001 - 06:25