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Bounce Proves To Be India's Nemesis

It's Australia all the way on a fast bowler's paradise at the WACA as India cut a sorry figure both with their batting and bowling

Bounce Proves To Be India's Nemesis
Bounce Proves To Be India's Nemesis

Australia made a mockery of a modest Indian total of 203, racing to the target with five wickets and 18 overs to spare in a lop-sided match of the tri-series at Perth today.

Adam Gilchrist (75) and Andrew Symonds (73) bludgeoned a toothless Indian attack for aggressive half-centuries and took the game away from India with an amazing 122-run stand that came off just 97 balls.

The comprehensive victory gave Australia a big psychological boost ahead of the best-of-three-finals with India starting in Melbourne on Friday.

It was Australia all the way on a fast bowler's paradise at the WACA pitch as India cut a sorry figure both with their batting and bowling to suffer their third defeat in four matches against their World Cup nemesis in this series.

Australia never allowed India back into the game, bowling them out for 203 in 49 overs after Saurav Ganguly had won the toss and made the wrong call of batting first on a pitch they had not played before on this tour.

The famed Indian top order ducked and hopped in the face of some vicious pace onslaught led by Brett Lee (3/22) before Yuvraj Singh hit a fine 47 and the tailenders contributed 104 runs to give the total some respectability.

Gilchrist, leading the side in absence of Ricky Ponting, and Symonds played to the gallery entertaining a strong 20,000 holiday crowd with a flurry of fours and sixes.

It was difficult to judge who troubled the Indians more as they were both in a murderous mood despite Australia losing three quick wickets to be reduced to 37 for three in the 6th over.

But any Indian thought of putting some pressure was smothered by the run-making spree of these two batsmen who rocketed their team to the 100-run mark by the 13th over which saw Symonds hit three consecutive boundaries off young left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan.

Symonds did the same to left-arm spinner Murali Kartik before he picked Pathan again to loft him as far as the car parking adjacent to the stadium. Not done as yet, he screamed another sixer, off Kartik this time, to see the ball get stuck on the stadium roof-top.

A delirious crowd screamed for more but Symonds was sent packing in the 22nd over by Pathan for 73 that came off 57 balls including 11 fours and two sixes.

Gilchrist departed two overs later but the damage had already been done as far as the Indians were concerned. The left-hander's 75 came off 65 balls with the help of 11 fours and a six.

Debutant Michael Hussey (17) and Simon Katich (18) then saw Australia home without further damage in the 32nd over.

Australia started in a fashion similar to India losing three quick wickets but the comparison ended there.

Gilchirst, dropped in the first over in the slips by V.V.S. Laxman off Ajit Agarkar, never allowed the pressure to build even though he lost his opening mate Matthew Hayden for a duck in the third over.

The record-breaking Hayden looked out of sorts during his 10-ball stay at the wicket before he was caught brilliantly by Rohan Gavaskar off Agarkar with the scoreboard reading 14 for one in the third over.

Damien Martyn, in news over the weekend for making an indecent gesture caught on film by a cameraman, departed two runs later in the same over as India started to eye their chances to successfully defend the modest total.

Michael Clarke was the third batsman to go when L. Balaji, the most impressive among Indian bowlers with figures of 10-1-37-1, had him caught by Virender Sehwag in the slips. But that was about all as the Indians were sent on a leather hunt thereafter by the rampaging Gilchrist-Symonds duo.

Earlier, India were rattled by the bounce and looked in the danger of being skittled out for less than 150 but for some resolute batting by top-scorer Yuvraj (47) and the tail-enders, reeling as they were at 101 for 6 in the 21st over.

Ganguly's decision to bat first backfired miserably with the top three batsman returning to the pavilion with just 50 runs on the board.

Lee exploited the perfect conditions for fast bowling to the hilt picking three wickets, all in an excellent first spell, to put the Indians on notice for the finals beginning in Melbourne on Friday.

Star batsman Sachin Tendulkar, returning to action after missing four league games due to injury, made just 5 while Sehwag, the other opener who resumed duty for the team after an injury lay-off, scored 32 as the Indian batsmen ducked and hopped to the Aussie chin music.

The signs were ominous in the first two overs itself when Sehwag cleared one just over the point fielder and Tendulkar was caught on first bounce by Symonds at gully.

But Tendulkar's luck soon ran out when he tried to come behind the line of a full-pitched delivery which moved off seam and was caught by Hayden at first slip.

The in-form Laxman (1) repeatedly failed to come in line of the ball and finally edged Lee to wicketkeeper Gilchrist with India 32 for 2 in the sixth over.

Sehwag chanced his arms against Jason Gillespie, smashing him for four fours, including two off successive balls in the bowler's second over, before slashing a catch to third man's throat in the 11th over. Sehwag's 32 came from 35 balls.

Ganguly, who had pushed himself down the order, was smacked first ball on his helmet by Gillespie which sailed over keeper's head for four leg byes. The Indian skipper lived dangerously throughout and it was not long before he edged Andy Bichel behind the stumps for 1 to leave India 57 for 4 in the 14th over.

Rahul Dravid, who was rock-solid in his stay of 37 balls and hit two delectable off-drives, square cut Brad Williams straight into the hands of debutant Hussey for 13 and it was left to Yuvraj to do the rescue job.


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