India's chase fizzles out after Tendulkar treat

Bangalore Nov. 13. There were Mexican waves in the stands and out in the middle, there was a dash of Flamenco too.

Twinkling footwork and strokes big, bold and beautiful, much like those splashes of colour on a large canvas. Shots boomed on a belter of a pitch and a fast outfield as the batsmen took flight much like the flock of pigeons that swirled under the floodlights.

First, Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting, both high on octane, delighted with punishing hundreds and then that little genius Sachin Tendulkar assumed centrestage, dismissing the bowling with an amalgam of timing and power, precision and placement.

On a pitch that held little for the bowlers, the man with subtle changes of pace made the decisive difference and when seamer Ian Harvey breached Tendulkar's (89) defence, the Indians, in pursuit of an awesome 348, had their backs to the wall.

As the dust settled on this TVS tri-series encounter at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday, Australia ran out a comfortable winner by 61 runs, finishing its league engagements with 28 points. The Indians, who picked up a point from the match, now have 10 from five games, the same as the Kiwis.

When the Indian chase got underway, Virender Sehwag, lucky to be reprieved twice off one Michael Kasprowicz over — at slip and point — made an unconvincing 39 before being castled by Harvey.

By then, the openers had provided a platform, adding 103 in 17.3 overs.

After Tendulkar's departure, though captain Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, who succumbed to a spectacular return catch by Kasprowicz, promised for a while, the batsmen had too much to accomplish after the Indian bowlers had allowed the Australians too much leeway.