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The Electronic Telegraph 1st Super Six Match: Australia v India
Michael Henderson - 04 June 1999

McGrath takes hand to settle issue

Australia (282-6) bt India (205) by 77 runs

This was supposed to have been a match between equals, an association of master craftsmen: it never came close. A thorough all-round performance by the Australians, led by Mark Waugh's brilliant strokeplay and Glenn McGrath's incisive use of the new ball, cut India to ribbons. It was a convincing win, and an important one. Another, against Zimbabwe at Lord's next Wednesday, should take Australia into the semi-finals.

Having taken time to adjust their sights, after a couple of indifferent performances in the first round, Australia have now recorded two spirit-reviving victories. Against India, as against West Indies at Old Trafford last Sunday, McGrath revealed the qualities of pace, probing accuracy and keenness of purpose that have made him such a great bowler. By the time he had finished his first spell he had put the outcome of the match beyond doubt, and he was duly crowned the man of it.

Nobly as Ajay Jadeja and Robin Singh played in making 141 for the fifth wicket, there was no coming back from the loss of four leading men inside seven overs. Jadeja went on to complete a hundred, the fifth by an Indian batsman in this World Cup, but it was no palliative. On a day the Indians needed their productive top order batsmen to be strong they were outdone by the tall New South Welshman.

McGrath's figures in that damaging first spell were three for 20. They were all good wickets but, like the champion he is, he found his best ball for the man he most wanted to receive it. Sachin Tendulkar, freshly restored to his familiar one-day opening position, pushed forward to his fourth ball as it left him and touched a catch to Adam Gilchrist. With a single tug of the lever McGrath had won the jackpot.

Tendulkar may possibly have been distracted by the events of the previous evening, when the International Cricket Council delivered a letter to the team hotel, warning him about the size of the logo on his bat. The letter, written by Clive Hitchcock, the ICC cricket operations manager, and addressed to Brijesh Patel, the manager of the Indian team, was also sent to Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC match referee.

In it Hitchcock instructed Tendulkar to comply with the regulations drawn up for logo sizes on players' bats. Tendulkar, whose bats are sponsored by the Madras Rubber Foundation, which also supports the fast bowling clinics in that city run by Dennis Lillee, had apparently breached the regulations, which restrict logos to 7.5 inches, at Edgbaston last Saturday.

He appeared yesterday with a space where the logo had been and, for all the good it did him, it was as if Samson had been shorn of his locks. Rahul Dravid, the leading run-maker in the competition, failed to survive McGrath's next over, falling to another catch behind, and when Mohammad Azharuddin fended off a short ball to gully, India were 17 for four. In between, Sourav Ganguly had played on to Damien Fleming.

The only pleasure India gained from the afternoon came in the partnership between Jadeja and Singh, which ended when the left-hander swung Tom Moody to fine leg. They took kindly to Shane Warne, plundering three sixes from one over, and while the result was never in doubt, the wrist spinner would have preferred to end the day with tidier figures, and a wicket or two.

Overall, though, the Australians had no cause for complaint. They had not won a match of any kind on this ground for 22 years, and when they were put in to bat yesterday their immediate task was to avoid the loss of early wickets. Waugh and Gilchrist, in fact, played very well in the first hour and by the time Waugh went in the 31st over for 83, he had ensured that those who followed him would be able to achieve a decent score. Thanks to the 39 runs they harvested from the last three overs they turned it into a formidable one.

Mark Waugh - what a charmer! He is a Stan Getz among modern batsmen, the improviser who always lets you hear the tune. One stroke here, a drive over mid-off for six at Ganguly's expense, was worth a firing of the noonday gun. Is there any player who offers the spectator more for his money? No, not even the great little Indian. This man is an international treasure.

He's also a bit of a clod. There was another one-day hundred for him to add to the 11 he already has when he picked up Singh to deep backward square leg. It wasn't quite the same day after that. Still, you wouldn't really want Waugh to play any other way. Now that he is back in form, and McGrath is ripping out the big wickets, Australia are suddenly looking twice the team. And they weren't a bad one before.

Thirty of the 160 players contracted to South African provinces for the 1999-2000 season are black.

Last month the United Cricket Board set themselves a target of involving 22 players of colour in provincial first-class cricket next season. The UCB released initial squads of contracted players on Friday. No quotas have been set but provinces will no longer be permitted to select all-white teams.

Ninety people have been arrested in India's western state of Gujarat on charges of illegal bookmaking during the World Cup.

Norfolk have lodged a complaint with the England and Wales Cricket Board over their ECB 38-County tie against the Northamptonshire Board XI at Finedon Dolben last Sunday.

The game was washed out without a ball bowled and Norfolk have asked the ECB to investigate the apparent failure to cover the wicket and surrounds in the way required by the competition's regulations.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk