Tendulkar answered many questions with his knock at the SCG, writes Steve Waugh
The first final of the CB Series was one of the rare occasions in the recent past where I saw Australia completely outplayed in a One-Day International.
India bowled better and batted much better to go 1-0 up in the finals, and Australia have only one day to regroup and ensure that they execute their plans better than they did at the Sydney Cricket Ground. I am sure that Ricky Ponting is hurt, not because they lost, but because he must feel that his team were flat and unimpressive on Sunday.
The Indians, on the other hand, had a super Sunday. The under-19 team lifted the World Cup in Malaysia hours after the seniors had demolished the World champions. I was really impressed by some of India’s juniors, and since some of the members of the one-day team are also barely in the 20s, the future seems bright for India.
The new generation of players is a lot fitter, possesses a more positive body language and is pretty unaffected by reputations.
On Sunday, there were two moments that really exemplified the attitude of generation next of India’s players. The first was the partnership between Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar. The latter was on 99, and on the verge of taking a suicidal second run. Sharma responded to the late call and sent Tendulkar back, thus ensuring that the team did not lose a wicket.
I have been really impressed with the maturity and sound technique of this boy. He has been hailed as the next Tendulkar already and is a special talent, but also one that needs to be nurtured, and given time to blossom.
The other special moment was the way Mahendra Singh Dhoni strode in with 30 runs to go. The manner in which he knocked off the remaining runs and took his team to victory was really impressive. There was no conservatism in his approach, and when he was in the middle with Tendulkar at that stage, the game was actually looking ridiculously one-sided.
On Sunday, Tendulkar answered many questions about his recent performances with a knock that was quite clearly the difference between the two sides.
It was said that he never scored in any game of consequence, and he has now scored in two crucial games — one to get the Indians into the finals, and another to make his team go one-up in the finals. What’s more, he had never ever scored a century on Australian soil. That was a record that must have irked him, and he has remedied that situation as well.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, I see the Australians coming really hard at the Indians. I believe Ponting has given the team a dressing down, and I am not surprised. The batting has been really out of sync in this tri-series, and while the bowlers have bailed the team out on past occasions, they too were below par at the SCG.