140 not out against India in the first innings
2003 World Cup final
Australia (359 for 2) beat India (234 all out) by 125 runs
Australia rout India to win third World Cup
Anand Vasu - 23 March 2003
Australia missed Steve Waugh, Shane Warne and Jason Gillespie
only in spirit as they routed India by 125 runs to win the World
Cup for a historic third time. The mischievous smile rarely left
Ricky Ponting's boyish face as he led from the front, playing the
innings of his life for an unbeaten 140 that powered Australia to
359/2 from 50 overs. In the face of great pressure chasing 360,
India were given fleeting glimpses of hope by Virender Sehwag
(82) and the rain, but succumbed to 234 all out in 39.2 overs.
Without losing a single game on their way, Australia stamped
their authority on world cricket. The mantle rested easily on
Steve Waugh's shoulders, and Ponting can now tell the world that
he has lived up to every expectation Australian fans would have
For the Indians a much cherished dream came crashing down to
earth at the Wanderers. With no player having experience of being
in a final as big as this, their bowlers appeared nervous and
jerky after their captain gave them first use of the conditions.
Zaheer Khan, charged up, oozed nervous energy as he charged in
and delivered a 15-run over to get the game under way,
accompanied by a few kind words to Adam Gilchrist.
The best time to have a cheeky word with aggressive Australian
batsmen is when they are walking back to the pavilion, not when
they've just played and missed. Showing the stomach for a big
fight, Gilchrist proceeded to tear the Indian bowling apart.
He telegraphed his intentions early on, crashing the first ball
of the third over, delivered by Zaheer Khan, to the long-off
fence. From then on, there was no stopping him. Srinath, in
particular, was treated severely, walloped for five fours and a
six before he was taken off the attack. At the other end, Hayden
was circumspect, getting his eye in and playing second fiddle.
After Gilchrist had piled misery on the experienced Srinath and
raw Zaheer Khan alike, Ganguly was forced to turn to his only
spinner in just the 10th over.
It paid dividends soon enough. Having slowed a touch after
reaching his half-century off just 40 balls, Gilchrist attempted
to heave Harbhajan over midwicket. With two fielders in the deep,
there was little margin for error. The extra bounce from
Harbhajan ensured that Gilchrist was beaten; the top edge
swirling high towards midwicket where Sehwag held on to a well-
India had their first breakthrough, with Gilchrist gone for 57
(48 balls, 8 fours, 1 six) in the 14th over. While he would have
been disappointed at falling against the run of play, he could
take heart from the fact that he put Australia right on top with
his contribution in a better-than-run-a-ball 105-run partnership
for the first wicket.
As is so often the case in one-dayers, one wicket paved the way
for another. The fall of Gilchrist slowed things down
considerably and not a single boundary was struck in the 5.5 over
spell it took for the second Aussie wicket to fall.
Extracting big turn from the damp spots on the wicket, Harbhajan
got a ball to turn square from outside the leg and Hayden (37, 54
balls, 5 fours) could only manage a faint edge to wicketkeeper
Rahul Dravid. Australia were 125/2, one ball shy of the 20-over
India savoured their twin strikes, and it was a good thing they
did, for they was little else to celebrate on the day.
What Gilchrist and Hayden did, Ponting and Damien Martyn did
better. They batted India out of the game with a belligerent 234-
run partnership in 30.1 overs that powered Australia to a mammoth
359/2, the highest-ever score in a World Cup final. The bowling
was well short of even being tidy - they conceded as many as 37
extras - and paid the price.
You can't help but feel for Srinath, who might well have played
his last one-dayer for India. After all, who wants to end a
career with the figures of 10-0-87-0 in a World Cup final?
For the Indian seamers, who have done a sterling job all series,
the final proved the moment when the law of averages caught up
with them, along with a determined batting line-up.
Using the launchpad afforded them by Gilchrist's early burst,
Ponting and Martyn took time to play themselves in. Once they
did, there was no holding back. Australia's captain showed the
world exactly what he was capable of perpetrating, hitting eight
sixes and four fours in a 121-ball 140. He unveiled an array of
pull shots, sending his sixes sailing into the stands in the arc
from midwicket to square leg.
Martyn, while not playing the breathtaking shots that Ponting
essayed, scored at a fast clip while every now and then unveiling
the kind of delicate artistry that would have classicists purring
with delight. A back-foot cover drive that sailed over the ropes
showed a sense of timing that few in the world of cricket can
match. With 88 off just 84 balls in a World Cup final, Martyn can
be well pleased with his effort.
At the end of the Ponting-Martyn assault, Australia had 359/2 in
Drawing deep into the resources of a well of optimism and hope,
Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag walked out to attempt to
make this World Cup final the greatest ever by pulling off a
One can only imagine the pressure piled onto the shoulders of
Tendulkar as he stared down the wicket to Glenn McGrath first up.
After pulling him unconvincingly to the midwicket fence off the
fourth ball, Tendulkar tried to repeat the shot off the very next
ball. The extra bounce beat him and the resultant top edge bobbed
straight up in the air for McGrath to catch in his follow-
The Australians had the big wicket they wanted; Tendulkar was
back in the pavilion and a mere four runs were on the board. For
most Indian fans, hope took a beating as the man who scored 673
runs in this World Cup was back in the pavilion.
Ganguly (24) did his best to keep up the run rate, but fell to
the pace of Brett Lee in the 10th over. Just three balls later,
Mohammad Kaif was back in the hut for a duck and India were
reeling at 59/3.
From there on India did their best to keep up the pace, but were
flagging when the skies opened and rain poured down at the
Wanderers, threatening yet another twist in the tale with India
on 103/3 in 17 overs. Even this rate was possible only as Ponting
turned to his slow bowlers, in order to get through the overs.
Brad Hogg and Darren Lehmann were introduced early and Sehwag
went after both. Three consecutive boundaries off Lehmann in the
14th over got the Indian fans in the ground on their feet.
Hogg too got a taste of the action, going for a four over cover
and a six over long on off the third and fourth balls of the 15th
When play resumed with the threat of rain gone, Ponting went back
to his strike bowlers and they delivered the goods.
While Sehwag kept the hopes of Indian fans up with good clean
hits, the asking rate kept climbing. The sheer volume of runs
required meant that scoring at a run a ball did nothing to arrest
the steady climb of the required run rate. Dravid, meanwhile,
played foil to Sehwag, nudging singles and attempting to keep the
scoreboard ticking over and the strike rotating. Ones and twos,
however, were never going to be enough and soon Sehwag began to
feel the pressure.
Using his range of strokes, Sehwag thumped a couple of pulls, a
slog-sweep and an extra-cover drive for three fours and six.
Reaching 82 off just 81 balls, he probably had the
Duckworth/Lewis target in mind as he attempted a suicidal run in
the 24th over. Driving Bichel firmly to mid off, Sehwag set off
for a single and was well short of his crease when Darren
Lehmann's throw nailed the stumps at the non-striker's end.
Sehwag's 10 boundaries and three sixes brought much joy to Indian
Dravid (47) played a dogged hand and Yuvraj Singh made a brisk
24, but neither could do anything to stop Australia's march.
Wickets fell at regular intervals, shared almost equally between
all the bowlers and India's resistance was cut short on 234 in
39.2 overs. While Ganguly might rue his decision to bowl first,
you can't help but feel that Australia were simply too good on
the day. And yes, on every other day they walked out to play
cricket in their successful 2003 World Cup campaign.
World Cup final: Australian greats scale new heights
By Derek Pringle (Filed: 24/03/2003)
Australia (359-2) beat India (234) by 125 runs
Australia underlined their superiority in all forms of the game
by roasting India in the World Cup final amid thunder, lightning
and frenzied batting by their captain Ricky Ponting, who scored
140 of his side's 359, the highest total in a World Cup final and
the Australians' highest one-day score.
Inevitably, with such a huge task confronting them, India were
never in contention and Australia cantered home by 125 runs to
win the trophy for a record fourth time.
It was never really a contest, especially after Sachin Tendulkar
fell for four, caught and bowled by Glenn McGrath in the opening
over of his side's reply.
On form, India had been the second-best team in this World Cup,
losing just one match before yesterday. As that was also to
Australia, and by a huge margin, another shellacking was hardly
Ponting pointed to an outstanding team performance, one that had
kept Australia unbeaten here. "When the World Cup comes around
you give it your best when it counts," he said. "The hundred was
the 13th of my career but it was the best moment of my cricketing
life. We've won 17 consecutive one-day matches and back-to-back
World Cups but the stats don't mean as much to us as the
standards we set on the field."
After beginning his innings with a captain's caution (he struck
one four in his first fifty) following Adam Gilchrist's 'shock
and awe' opening of 57 off 48 balls, Ponting's monolithic knock
contained all elements of batting with sixes seemingly struck at
will during the closing stages. He favoured the leg side, with
almost 85 per cent of his runs coming there, a trait helped by
India's bowlers having a collective off-day.
Rod Marsh, director of England's Academy, described Ponting as a
"once in a generation batsman" when he first saw him at the
Australian Academy 10 years ago. Those gifts have taken time to
bloom fully but yesterday he produced a bouquet to savour with an
innings unlikely to be surpassed in a hurry, at least not in
games as important as World Cup finals.
Ponting had arrived at the crease with his side in the healthy
position of 105 for one in the 14th over with his opposite
number, Sourav Ganguly, ringing the changes in a desperate
attempt to staunch the runs. Ganguly had opted to field,
presumably due to the effects overnight thunderstorms might have
had on the pitch. The decision backfired horribly, though he
later claimed he did not regret making it. It was almost
certainly borne of a faint heart: based not on what advantage his
bowlers might derive from first use of the surface, but on what
Australia's aggressive pace bowlers would get from it. Ganguly's
opening bowlers choked and both Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan
dropped too short to batsmen weaned on cross-bat shots.
With a huge Indian presence in the 32,000-strong crowd, far
better for India's captain to unleash Tendulkar early and get
them shrieking with every run than endure the eerie silence that
greeted Gilchrist's savaging of India's wild opening salvo.
Srinath's 10 overs cost 87 runs, by some distance the worst
bowling figures in a final.
Until the storm threatened to erase Australia's industry (a new
game is staged if play is abandoned, unless 25 overs of the
second innings are bowled), Indian fans had been virtually
silent. Only Ganguly's hotch-potch of spinners (five were used)
bowled with discipline, though by then Australia's momentum was
Rarely at his best starting against spin, Ponting contented
himself with getting his eye in with singles, a tactic Damien
Martyn, playing with a broken right index finger, also employed
to great effect. Like Mark Waugh before him, Martyn unobtrusively
scores runs at will, possessing a broad palette of strokes.
The pair added 234 for the third wicket, a record for a final
that needed little Lord Sachin to be at his most god-like. Taking
first strike, Tendulkar pulled McGrath's fourth ball to the
midwicket boundary. Unfortunately a repeat of the shot next ball
ended in a skied catch.
India's retort came from Virender Sehwag. Playing freely, Sehwag
mixed bravery with bravura as Brett Lee crunched several short
balls into his body and gloves. Unflinching, he played his shots
and until he was run out by Darren Lehmann taking a sharp single
to mid-off, he had matched the best of the Australians with 10
fours and three sixes.
Once he had gone, the fourth man out in the 24th over, and with
rain unlikely to intervene again, the end was inevitable. When it
occurred, Australia mobbed their captain, a writhing gold and
green organism that once more proved far greater than the sum of
Sanath Jayasuriya will remain as captain of Sri Lanka after his
resignation was rejected by the country's cricket board
The new invincibles
India's fanatical supporters can take some comfort from the words
of Virgil tonight. "Maybe one day we shall be glad to remember
these things," he wrote in the years before Christ, and even the
most despondent fan should see what happened at the Wanderers
today in that sort of late-afternoon gentle light.
India were beaten, by the best team in the history of the one-day
game, but they were by no means disgraced. Defeat against a side
that can make light of the absences of Shane Warne - the greatest
spinner of the modern era - and Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath's
heir apparent as the world's greatest pace bowler, seems not
really defeat at all.
In two-dozen games dating back to April 2000, Australia haven't
lost once when they've made 200 batting first. So to expect
India's batsmen, formidable as they have been this tournament, to
chase down 360 was a bit like the lonely child wishing for the
company of the Man on the Moon.
Despite the enormity of the odds stacked against them, Virender
Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid gave it their best shot,
in trying circumstances where they had to keep one eye on the
asking rate and another on the ubiquitous Duckworth-Lewis chart.
His most virulent critics will be at Ganguly's throat for bowling
first on winning the toss. But make no mistake, it was the right
decision - the way the ball darted around off the seam proved as
much. There's nothing a captain can do however when his frontline
bowlers - who have done him proud throughout the tournament -
choose the biggest stage to go missing in action.
Zaheer Khan's radar switched off, Javagal Srinath bowled half-
track, hit-me balls all afternoon, and Ashish Nehra was never
consistent enough to cause anything more than the occasional
quickened heartbeat. Ganguly did what he could, shuffling the
pack and trying all his jokers, but none of them had any answer
to a batting display the likes of which we may never see again.
Cometh the hour ...
This was supposed to be the day when Sachin Tendulkar joined the
likes of Clive Lloyd,
Vivian Richards and Aravinda de Silva as a
World Cup final hero. Instead, he produced four runs and a couple
of indifferent overs of legspin - enough to bring those who
question his big-match credentials crawling out of the woodwork.
Remember, though, that this is a man who finished the tournament
with 673 runs in 11 innings. Without him and an audacious assault
against Pakistan, there might have been no final. In his darkest
hour, Indian fans would do well to doff their caps his way.
Ricky Ponting may have hijacked the big strokes in the final
stages but who can forget the innings that Damien Martyn played?
Batting with a broken finger, he outpaced Ponting to 50, no mean
feat unless your name's Adam Gilchrist, before moving over to the
fringes. For all the big-hitting from Ponting and Sehwag, the
shot of the day was Martyn's magnificently timed inside-out drive
And finally ...
What a way to consign the Steve Waugh one-day era to the pages of
history. There were a few questions about Ponting's captaincy
credentials in the lead-up to the competition, and he answered
them with an innings that ranks alongside Richards's 138 in 1979
as the greatest played on the big stage. The 234-run partnership
with Martyn obliterated World Cup records and made the match a
no-contest by the halfway stage.
While Martyn got off to a rollicking start, Ponting pushed and
nudged his way to a sedate 74-ball 50. His next 90 runs took him
just 47 balls, and featured some breathtaking strokes in the arc
between long-on and square leg. Two of those were one-handed
efforts, but the timing was so excellent that the ball
A couple of times, batting from the Golf Course End, the white
ball went so high and handsome that you had to peer twice to make
sure it wasn't Tiger Woods in action. Ponting's 13th one-day
hundred was certainly unlucky for millions of Indian fans who
expected so much but were ultimately put in their place by a team
that has embraced greatness as tightly as is humanly possible.
Make no mistake, Australia are the Real Madrid of cricket. If
you're a sports aficionado, you'll know there is no higher