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Mon Mar 24 2003
Issue No: 169

Australia rout India to retain World Cup

The moan that went up in cricket-watching households around India as soon as Sourav Ganguly decided to bowl first said it all. India may have possessed a rejuvenated bowling attack and a sturdy batting, but against a team like Australia in a game like the World Cup final, you don't cede even the slightest advantage. Sure enough, India's bowlers crumbled under the enormity of the occasion, as Australia's batsmen proved ruthless. First Adam Gilchrist (57) and Matthew Hayden (37) pummelled the opening bowlers, and then Ricky Ponting (140) and Damien Martyn (88) milked them absolutely dry, adding 234 runs for the third wicket. Australia reached 359 for two, such a virtuoso performance that even Ponting's big hitting (eight sixes) seemed secondary to the team's display. The total, of course, was always out of reach, but for a brief interval, it appeared as if Virender Sehwag (82) and Messrs. Duckworth and Lewis could extricate India delicately. But the rain kept off long enough for the teams to return to the field and for Australia to complete last rites on a 125-run win that saw them become only the second team to retain the prestigious World Cup.

Australia played like champions - Ganguly

Damien Martyn was in the 1999 World Cup squad, but it was only in 2003 that he could play the final. "It is one of my best moments," he said. "Leading up to the game there were doubts with the injury, and there is always nervous tension going into a match like this. But Ricky batted fantastically..

"The last four years there has been a lot of hard work done by a lot of people. It has all come good and it is a fantastic win for all Australians - and they should be very proud,. said Martyn. .Our goal was to go undefeated right through. We have done some hard yards in this tournament, and it is very emotional."

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly paid tribute to the Australians after their emphatic victory. "It's a bit disappointing for us, but all credit to them - they played very well," he said. "It was not an easy wicket to bat on early on - but they played like great champions.. About his pacers, he said, .It was just

one of those days for them. But all my regards to them - they bowled splendidly right through the tournament - and all my team have done a great job..

Man of the Tournament Sachin Tendulkar did not enjoy a great time, falling for just four in the first over of India's reply. "It is just one of those days," he said. "We didn't start well in what was such a big game for all of us. We all tried really hard - but it didn't happen. I felt the pressure was on the bowlers. The wicket helped a bit, but they found it tough to put the ball in the right areas..

I would've been happier if India had won the World Cup - Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar was not a happy man despite being named the Man of the Tournament. "It's an honour to be named the Man-of-the-Tournament, but I would have been happier if India had won the World Cup trophy," the batting genius said, after accepting the award, a gold trophy, from the greatest all-rounder the game has seen, Sir Garry Sobers. World Cup's chief organiser Ali Bacher was among the many who were happy to see the Little Master with the prize. "We wanted this to be the best World Cup ever, and Sachin's brilliant batting has helped the tournament captivate millions of people around the cricketing world. He thoroughly deserves the accolade," Bacher observed. Tendulkar scored 673 runs at 61.18 with a highest of 152 against Namibia in his 11 forays to the batting crease at the World Cup.

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Courtesy Charlie Griffith, who felled Indian captain Nari Contractor in 1962 during a tour game against Barbados, the junior Nawab of Pataudi became India's youngest captain at the age of 21 years and 77 days. People would argue that he also went on to become India's best captain, nurturing the famed spin quartet to maximum potency and registering signal Test victories, both at home and abroad.

An awe-inspiring performance from Australia has brought the World Cup to a predictable end. As the cricketers prepare to wend their way back home after a gruelling tournament, we at On The Road shall also take what we believe is a well-earned break. See you all at the start of the next Indian tour.

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Ricky Ponting
A great reason to smile
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"The fans have turned up in such huge numbers here, and I think the way we played right through means we

can all hold our heads high." Sourav Ganguly

"That innings was probably a little bit overdue. I had not done much in the lead-up games, but I saved it for

the final." Ricky Ponting

"It was definitely one of the most boring World Cups ever. The problem of their being so many dud games is something the game's administrators should address in the next four years to ensure that at least the 2007 World Cup does not meet the same fate," Harish K

Ricky Ponting's 140 was the highest score by a batsman in a World Cup final. He also became the fourth such century-maker, after Clive Lloyd, Vivian Richards and Aravinda de Silva

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