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Sunday, October 09, 2005

ICC Super Series - 3rd ODI

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Austraila white-washed the World XI squad by comprehensively winning the 3rd ODI, thereby establishing that they are still the best side in this world and that the Ashes loss might have just been an aberration. It is not the fact that they won that surprises me - it is the completely dominating manner in which they won that surprised me. The World XI comprised of some of the best match-winners that you can think of - Lara, Flintoff, Kallis, Sehwag, Flintoff, Sangakara, Murali - but still, a team of 11 talented cricketers could not defeat the might of Australia. That clearly proves that Australia is leagues ahead of the other teams.

The day started quite well for the World XI - they managed to grab some early and quick wickets and at one point, the Aussies were in a spot of bother at 140 odd with 5 wickets down. But what I saw after that must be one of the best exhibitions of 1-day batting. Hussey and Watson, both relative new-comers to the 1-day arena showed great composure in batting out the dangerous Murali and Vettori by not taking any risks. Once they had them out of their way, they slowly started to up the momentum - running hard between the wickets, hitting the odd boundaries and once they knew that the bowlers were losing heart, they slowly unleashed the big strokes. It was real exhilirating stuff from these 2 youngsters and thanks to their performance, the Aussies put a very respectable score of 293.

The World XI's start got off in the worst possible manner - Chris Gayle was bowled off the 2nd ball of Brett Lee - a rocket sent at around 150 km/hr. After that, it was total mayhem - as wickets just kept tumbling. In no time, the World XI was reduced to 27 / 4 and it was then left to Flintoff and Sehwag to put some respectability to the score. Just when we thought that probably there was going to be a fight by the World XI, Flintoff lost his wicket going for the big hoike and Sehwag was brilliantly run out by Watson. After that, the World XI folded up for 137 giving the Aussies a massive win.

Australia must feel pretty good after these wins - especially coming at a time when a lot of the Aussie cricketers must have felt the pressure at home after losing the Ashes. I think, they also have unearthed 2 special talents who are going to serve them for a long time - Mike Hussey, a perfect replacement for Michael Bevan and Shane Watson, a Flintoff in the making. The focus now shifts to the 6-day test match starting in Sydney from Friday. I am sure the Aussies must be waiting to get back to their winning ways in tests and the World XI must be itching to salvage some pride and to avoid any more embarrasments ! - I sure hope that they put up a fight and show what they are capable of.

-- Thyaga

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