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Australia continues brilliant form

Written by: Allan Border
Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
 
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Another great day of cricket, another great Australian win. The Aussies confirmed their great form in this triangular series with another comprehensive win. It was what I would call a traditional win. What I mean by that is a good build up by the early batting, particularly Mark Waugh who started to show a return to form with his 43 off 73 balls. Then Michael Bevan, who has been promoted to number 4 in this series provided some solidarity in the middle stages with a brilliant 77. Then we had the happy hour! The last 15 overs were action plus with great contributions from Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds and a final burst from Shane Lee.

The Australian total of 286 was probably 40 more than they would have expected. This game had another backdrop in that that the Australian Cricket Board in conjunction with the Australian Cricketers' Association had put together a celebration of Australian cricket over the past 100 years. It was a fantastic couple of days, mingling with past and present players going back to Bill Brown who had debuted in the 1930's upto the current bunch who are taking all before them. As you can imagine, there were a lot of stories told and heaps of reminiscing about the good old days. A great time was had by all. The celebrations culminated in a lap of honour for all those past cricketers in attendance, all of whom are part of a rich Australian cricket heritage.

Also announced during proceedings was the Australian Cricket Team of the century. It always causes furious debate as to who should be included in this type of side but the following are the 12 names selected - Bill Ponsford, Arthur Morris, Don Bradman, G.Chappell, Neil Harvey, Keith Miller, Ian Healy, Shane Warne, Ray Lindwall, Dennis Lillee and Bill O'Reilly with yours truly as the 12th man. I think it would be an interesting exercise if the other countries were to do a similar process and try to pick their sides of the 20th century. I'd be interested to see the names India could come up with. I'm prepared to start it off and pick Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Kapil Dev. That leaves just 9 spots to fill. Best of luck.

Back to the game at hand. The Pakistani's reply was initially fast and furious. It was incredible to see one of the great bowlers in Glenn McGrath having figures of 0/61 off 5 overs. Quite amazing! The Pakistani's were on fire and with the score reading 2/90 off just 10 overs the hard work had been done. Unfortunately this is where the wheels fell off. What was needed from this point was consolidation. This didn't happen and in a short space of time the score was reduced to 8/147 and no hope of victory. There was a slight rearguard action from the tail but the innings petered out at 205 leaving Australia convincing winners. Nevertheless a good day was had by all.

It would be remiss of me not to mention a significant milestone achieved by the great Wasim Akram. With his dismissal of Damien Martyn the brilliant left-armer took his 400th wicket in one-day internationals. What an incredible performer he has been! I am sure he has plenty of gas left in the tank in the effort to get his side over the line and into the finals. The result has given India an outside chance of making something happen in this tri-series. The big encounter awaits us in Hobart. Can India reverse their current form and breathe some life into their campaign? Let's hope so.

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