WC 2003 - Somebody has to beat the Aussie says Ganguly

Published: Monday, March 24, 2003, 20:36 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Outclassed India captain Saurav Ganguly says world champion Australia's dominance could not carry on for ever.India captain Saurav Ganguly"Someone has got to beat it," Ganguly said a day after the Aussie mean-machine crushed India by 125 runs in the final. "Playing better than them on a particular day is the only way you can do it."Australia not only became the first side to win three World Cups but also extended their winning streak in One-day Internationals to 17 matches.Australia's triumph in Sunday's final was never in doubt after it piled up 359 for two, including a match-winning 140 not out from skipper Ricky Ponting, both World Cup final records.India might have escaped had rain, which forced a 26-minute stoppage, prevented 25 overs being bowled in its innings.

In that event the match would have been replayed on Monday with Australia's innings counting for nothing.When the players went off they were greeted by the unusual sound of huge cheers from the thousands of fanatical Indian supporters inside the ground."It just shows how much they want us to do well," Ganguly said. "But that's not the right way to win. Australia played better than us."India stuck to its tried and tested formula of only four specialist bowlers - pace trio Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra as well as off spinner Harbhajan Singh.

That was despite advice from former Australia captain Ian Chappell who, prior to the game, urged Ganguly to recall leg spinner Anil Kumble. Even though India's quicks took a terrible hammering from the Australia top order, Ganguly insisted they had got the balance right."It all depends if the fifth bowler is an all-rounder who can contribute with the bat." Several international captains have lost or given up the leadership of their teams in the wake of World Cup exits.

But left-handed batsman Ganguly insisted quitting was not on the agenda. "I'll keep on going until I think further." If India was to have any chance of reaching Australia's huge total it needed a big innings from man-of-the-tournament Sachin Tendulkar. But the master batsman managed just four before he was caught and bowled by Australia quick Glenn McGrath in the first over. Ponting admitted the opener's early departure had been a decisive blow.

"Sachin's put himself well-ahead of anyone else at this tournament. Generally, he saves his best for Australia but we got him early and that got the ball rolling," said Ponting.Tendulkar, One-day cricket's most successful batsman with over 12,000 runs and 34 centuries, was named player-of-the-tournament after scoring a record 673 runs. But the master batsman faltered when it mattered most.Copyright AFP 2001

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