Johannesburg: Pakistan skipper Waqar Younis issued a public apology to Andrew Symonds after he bowled two beamers at the Australian batsman as his side slipped to an 82-run defeat in its World Cup opener at the Wanderers on Tuesday. Waqar was ordered out of the attack by angry umpire David Shepherd after the incident which happened in the final over of the Australian innings in which Symonds smashed a match-winning unbeaten 143 in his side's massive 310 for 8. "I tried a yorker first but it slipped out of my hand and I was warned by the umpire," said a contrite Waqar.
"But the next ball popped out as well. There was nothing intentional in it and I apologise for it." Man-of-the-match Symonds accepted the apology. "First I thought it would blow off my top but there are no hard feelings," he said. Australian captain Ricky Ponting revealed how the shock of Shane Warne's drug test failure inspired the world champions to their win. "Shane addressed the whole team on Monday night and told us about the drugs test and I am glad that we came out of this match with flying colours after so much pressure," said Pointing.
"Everyone in the team has been very supportive of Shane and we all felt for him." The 33-year-old Warne, playing in his last World Cup, was withdrawn from the team after it was revealed that he had tested positive for a banned substance after he had taken a diuretic used to control his weight. "The guys were told to put the issue out of their minds and I am happy with their performance. It was shocking to hear about Shane but I think what he did was out of naivete.
"I hope that he will not be ruled out of the World Cup completely." Left-arm spinner Brad Hogg was chosen to replace Warne and responded with three wickets while Ian Harvey, who was a late call-up to the squad after Shane Watson pulled out last month, took four wickets as Pakistan was all out for 228. "It was a great comeback because it was hard to score freely but Symonds played the best One-day innings I have ever seen," said Ponting.
Symonds said he was cautious through his innings but hit the bad balls. "I was worried about the next ball throughout the innings but am happy that I made such an impact on the team's win," he said. Pakistan captain Waqar Younis was disappointed at his team letting off Australia after Wasim Akram's early burst of three wickets had left the world champions struggling at 52 for 3. "It was a blend of some bad bowling and some class batting by Symonds and he took away the game from us," Waqar said.