India crumble under Hayden-Ponting blast
‘System’ gave me rest: Hayden
Bagan coach wary vs FCK today
Army XI blank Sikh RC 3-0
Mumbai Races/ Big Bertha for Alijah Trophy
Calcutta Races/ Packed fields in Friday’s card
Calcutta Races/ Cup Of Life shines

Visakhapatnam, April 3: 
Australia 338/4 (50 ovs)
India 245 (45 ovs)
MoM: Hayden

One was struggling for runs and the other finding it difficult to store them. The two struck centuries today to help Australia post, in the fourth one-dayer, a total that has never been surpassed as the visitors ensured the fifth match of the Pepsi series does not dissolve into an academic affair.

Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting put together 219 runs in a giant second-wicket stand — an Australian record against India — as their team amassed 338 for four (their second highest ODI total ever) to set up a commanding 93-run series-levelling win.

However, what set the Eastern Ghats on fire was a magic 62 by Sachin Tendulkar which gave the 20,000-odd crowd something to party about.

That was after the Hayden century that warmed the cockles of the Indians’ hearts, though they could hardly enjoy it.

The left-right combination of Hayden and Ponting seized back the early advantage India had snatched by dismissing Adam Gilchrist on the fifth ball of the day and went about their task in a rather sedate manner in the beginning.

In the parlance of chess, the damage was done in the ‘middle game’ (overs 15-35), when they rattled up 146 runs without taking too many risks on a batting beauty.

India were lucky to be allowed their full quota of overs as they overshot the time limit by 17 minutes. The Match Referee, however, did not penalise them a single over.

India had not done badly in the first 15 overs, keeping the total to 74 for one but lost the next few rounds so comprehensively that the contest became a foregone conclusion. What followed, however, was entertainment of the most exquisite order as Tendulkar resumed his on-going battle against the Aussie opening bowlers.

Having done that in the recent past, which forced Steve Waugh to deploy a deep square leg instead of a deep fine leg, Tendulkar came out firing on all cylinders. It may have had little to do with the outcome of the match but the ferocity and artistry of the assault was breathtaking.

Beginning by flicking Damien Fleming to the fence, he glanced the next one past short fine leg but the best was stored for Glenn McGrath. Sometimes, he caressed him through the heavily-manned off-side cordon and at times, simply bludgeoned him through the covers. It was so menacing that Steve had to dispense with a sweeper on the leg-side and pack the off-side with seven men.

But then, in the 11th over, the Little Master imperiously moved outside off stump to flick McGrath through the vacant leg-side and breached the ‘off-side trap’ with a delectable cover drive on the next ball. The over yielded 15 runs and the Aussie spearhead ended his first spell conceding 43 off six overs.

But then there was no support from the other end and the strike was hardly rotated. Off the first 90 deliveries of the innings, Tendulkar faced 37 balls, 11 of which torched the blades of grass on their way to the fence.

The Indian skipper failed again and the Aussies hardly allowed him the length and width to drive. When he did get one in the slot, Sourav Ganguly failed to come down on it fully which resulted in a low catch to short extra cover.

His stay at the wicket was frustrating, as the rare ones he timed were cut off by the agile cover fielders. It must have been disheartening for teammates who watched their captain struggle to get off his mark.

It was all over for India when Tendulkar fell in the 16th over, though Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan entertained the gathering with some big strokes which lent some respectability to India’s loss.

Earlier, Hayden and Ponting hardly tried anything adventurous when the field restrictions were on but once that was lifted, the flow of runs gained momentum.

Barring Harbhajan, to an extent, nobody could trouble the two and it was surprising to see Sourav not bringing back strike bowlers Jawagal Srinath and Zaheer in order to force a breakthrough.

Srinath had hardly allowed the batsmen any room in the first 15 overs and though Zaheer got punished on almost every occasion he erred, the left-armer managed to keep errors within forgivable limits.

“They bowled six overs each in the beginning, so, I wanted to preserve them for the end overs,” explained the Indian skipper.

Hayden, having the ball of his life, completed his maiden ODI hundred without taking any risks till he had crossed 50. He did start chancing his arm after that, carting Sourav for two sixes in the 32nd over, but the few lofted shots he mistimed landed in unmanned territory. He also used the sweep to good effect and a fare share of his runs came off such shots. He used his feet well, especially against Harbhajan.

Ponting, on the other hand, was a picture of concentration and played within the ‘v’ in the early part of the innings.

Offering a very straight bat to almost everything, he took full advantage of the loose ones down the leg-side and also timed some glides towards third-man to perfection. “My front foot was getting stuck while going forward and across and I worked on it,” he said after completing his seventh ODI hundred.

Both centurions threw away their wickets after reaching the three-figure mark and it was left to Michael Bevan, Steve and Shane Lee to keep up the momentum. They did just that as 118 runs were plundered in the last 15 overs.

It was just too much to get, even on a belter, and India perhaps lost the match during the middle-overs. The Australians did bat India out of the match but then, it made sure that the last show in Goa does not become a routine affair.


Visakhapatnam, April 3: 
A ‘victim’ of the rotation system, Matthew Hayden thinks everything is fair with the concept the Australians are trying to regularise.

Having been made to sit out the third one-dayer in Indore after scores of 99 and 57 in the first two, the left-handed opener made a comeback today and celebrated it with his maiden one-day International hundred.

It also earned him the Man of the Match award and took his series tally to 267 from three matches.

“I think the ‘system’ is here to stay and I am a beneficiary of it,” said the burly Queenslander. “I was mentally and physically so tired that I didn’t even attend nets during the break and it was just rest and rest. It did me a world of good.”

Not named in the original Aussie one-day squad, Hayden was asked to stay back after a highly productive Test series and is now making most of the chance, which, to his own admission, came as a surprise.

“The way the game is going, with so many matches, I think rotating players is something which we’ll see more in the future,” Hayden opined.

Today, as he went on to build on a massive platform for a final assault in tandem with Ricky Ponting, Hayden employed the sweep shot to great effect.

It is something, he disclosed, he has been practising. “It’s a hugely productive option, especially if the outfield is fast as we have had in the series since the ball just rolls off.

“Sachin Tendulkar plays the shot with greater perfection, even against medium-pacers,” he observed.

About getting a chance to make his mark as one-day player, Hayden said the most satisfying part was to win back the faith of selectors.

His partner in the demolition of the Indians today, Ponting, heaved a huge sigh of relief after breaking a sequence of forgettable outings.

Even he voiced support for the rotation policy, saying the break he got, in the second game in Pune, had done him loads of good.

Skipper Steve Waugh, who perhaps won a huge toss in this port city to draw level in the series, said the roll of the coin was not as important as it was made out to be.

“Pitches like this play true for 100 overs, so the toss is not as important as you think.”

But then, as the series goes the distance, Steve was reluctant to comment on whether the rotation system will be in vogue in the decider in Goa. “It’s too early,” was all he had to say.

It will be worth the wait!

Sourav disappointed

The disappointment of losing an opportunity to seal the one-day series was evident. Added to that there was this scarcity of runs from the piece of willow that, arguably, knows the nuances of timing better than most.

Sourav Ganguly completed yet another poor outing with the bat today, which left his four-match tally at just 19.

Still, the Prince of Calcutta, true to the sobriquet, refuses to bow. “I will open in the fifth match and try to stick to the basics which have fetched all those runs I’ve scored in the past,” declared Sourav.

About today’s match, Sourav accepted it was more than difficult after Australia piled up 338 though the coach said there was a chance.

Sourav defended the move to field Robin Singh — who made minimum impact while conceding 37 off six overs and scratching around before being dismissed for 16 — ahead of Yuvraj Singh.

“Loo k, Robin is an experienced player and has delivered in the past. Then, he was picked in the XIV ahead of Yuvraj.

“It was a key match and we wanted to use his experience. There was not one reason, rather a combination of a few, which prompted the move,” he reasoned.


Calcutta, April 3: 
Holders Mohun Bagan, running a somewhat distant second to East Bengal in the race for the fifth National Football League title, will take on Kerala’s FC Kochin in a crunch tie that could decide the fate of the Calcutta giants tomorrow..

Bagan, and Kochin are both six points adrift of East Bengal (32 points from 17 matches each) though the Calcutta team is ahead on goal difference.

That will not be the moot point of discussion at the Salt Lake Stadium tomorrow, though, what with Bagan missing a number of its star players to the national camp (for the pre-World Cup matches) now on in Bangalore. Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya is a trifle crestfallen, even saying things like he is “heading a crumbling outfit.”

“I have lost good players,” he explains. “I have received replacements for players like R.C. Prakash and for R.P. Singh and for Rennedy Singh and the like, but when I see the standard of these replacements, I do hesitate to talk about the fortunes of the team which, in full compliment, could have beaten any team hands down.

“We will play as per our players’ potential tomorrow,” he said. “Do not have great ideas just because it is Mohun Bagan.”

Those words can easily be construed as a pre-emptive effort at thwarting all the expletives that have been coming the coach’s way from the stands of late. “Look, today it is essential to have those big-bodied players from Africa. That’s the final word. Our local players just do not have it in them to push through a crowd through sheer power and stamina.”

He was, of course, referring to the presence of the big bodied players in the Kochin ranks. “Think of this... Sunday Seah, a goalkeeper, plays forward in the second session and he has now six goals to his credit! Can anything be funnier that this?”

Funny or not, Bhattacharya will have to put his best foot forward against coach A.M. Sredharan’s wards tomorrow. He will have to look forward to warding off Liberians Aaron Cole, Eugen Gray and T.S. Anoz, apart from Seah.

The only comforting thought for Bhattacharya will be the return of Brazilian Ramirez Barreto, after a double-booking ban. Mohun Bagan is also using the services of Bangladesh recruits Alfaz Ahmed and Md Naqeeb who has just signed on.

“I have no idea of the prowess of Naqeeb,” Bhattacharya said. “Practice does not always reveal the potential of a player. Let’s see him in match situation tomorrow.”

Overall, it was a rather wary coach, that.


Calcutta, April 3: 
Army XI were dominated, yet blanked Sikh Regimental Centre 3-0 in their Beighton Cup quarter final league engagement at the Mohun Bagan ground this afternoon.

In other matches of the day, Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) were finally stopped in their tracks by Punjab and Sind Bank, the visitors wining 4-0.

Two other matches were drawn. Bangladesh XI and SAI Training Centre scored a goal each, while Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) too shared two goals.

Avtar Singh scored for Army XI in the third and 30th minutes, both off penalty corners. The fact of the matter was that those were the only two penalty corners that Army XI managed in the first half in which they spent a good deal of time near their own D. Sikh RC earned six penalty corners, all of which were wasted.

In the second half, Sikh RC tried hard to throw some back, but two efforts by Baljit Singh (in the 16th and the 25th minutes of the session) were thwarted through indecision and through some quick action by Army goalkeeper H.K. Chowdhury.

In the 27th minute of the session, off a counter-attack, Army again scored, Ghanyasham sounding the boards.

In the last count Sikh RC had earned ten penalty corners against Army’s three.

CESC went into the red at the CC&FC ground in the 28th minute when Sandip Singh Seep scored for PSB. Seep doubled his tally in the 38th minute, but not before Parminder Singh had made it 2-0 for the visitors. Baljit Singh Saini rounded off the tally in the 49th minute.

SAI went into the lead through Stephen Kujur in the 36th minute, and Samsuz Zaman returned compliments for the Bangla team in the 58th minute.

BSF went ahead in the 24th minute through Peter Tirkey, but Mangra Munda threw it back for CISF when he converted a penalty corner in the 37th minute.

BHA League

Punjab Sports Club today blanked Baranagore SC 6-0 in their BHA league first division group B match.

Pavan Paswan and Gurinder Singh scored two each, while Amandeep Singh and Gurbinder Singh also added to the tally.


Mumbai, April 3: 
An effortless winner despite her long lay-off from the race-track, Big Bertha may be hard to down in the Alijah Trophy at the Mumbai races on Wednesday. C. Rajendra partners the S. Kolse-trained four-year-old filly by Razeen out of Dangerous Liason.


3.30 pm: Winning Times 1. Whispering Rok 2. Sleepyhead 3.
4 pm: Divine Quest 1. Royal Amaretto 2. Noor Aliya 3.
4.30 pm: Days Of Thunder 1. Budapest 2. Authentic 3.
5 pm: Midnight Escape 1. Sarena Pride 2. Nuclear Power 3.
5.30 pm: Majestic Hills 1. Discover 2. Princess Jo 3.
6 pm: Big Bertha 1. Anthology 2. Fabulous Fortune 3.
6.30 pm: Osprey 1. Raise A Toast 2. Charging Bullet 3.
Day’s Best: Big Bertha
Double: Divine Quest & Midnight Escape

Calcutta, April 3: 
Fields are packed in Friday’s six-event card in which the Eastern Air Command Cup takes the top-spot. First race starts at 1.50 pm.


1. Espoir Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV; Cl; V, eligible, 3-y-o only Rt. 00-50) 1.50 pm: Andrada 60; Automatic 57.5; Aherlow 56; Anokato 53.5; Albright 49.5; Alvernia 48.5; Lightning Speed 47.5; Maltayar 47.
2. Soultline Handicap 1,100m (Cl V, 00-28) 2.30 pm: Lovely Duchess 61; Glass Slipper 60; Stately Honour 58.5; Rule With Honour 58; Floral Path 57; Flying Power 57; Go With The Wind 56.5; Piece Of Cake 52.5; Go India Go 47; Fibonacci 47.
3. Eastern Air Command Cup 1,100m (Cl III, 5-y-o & over Rt. 44-72) 3.05 pm: Addab 60; Cup Of Life 60; Key Witness 59.5; Winning Hand 58.5; Crimson King 58; Mr. Bombshell 56.5; Double Bull 55.5; High Life 55.5; Spanish Drum’s 55.5; Kargil Soldier 54.5; Red Trident 53; Starina 51.5; Beau Bruno 51.
4. Predator Cup 1,200m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 3.40 pm: All Jade 60.5; Double Dancer 58.5; Animator 56; Armila 56; Appyness 54.5; Jayaashva 54; Pistol Star 52.
5. Delhi Race Club Cup 1,400m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 4.15 pm: Arco Europa 60; Black Mane 58; Alembic 57.5; Iron Warrior 56.5; Scavenger’s Son 55; Pneumatic Power 54.5; Supreme Desire 54.5; Tsaynen Blue 53.5; Rheinheart 52.5; Ballard Lady 52; Tequila Shot 52; Special Sovereign 48.
6. Wansfell Handicap 1,100m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 4.50 pm: Constantine 60.5; Peace Envoy 59; Ardon 58.5; On The Bit 58; Pure Energy 57.5; Reactor 55.5; Storm Centre 55; Aileron 53. Pure Passion 51.5.
Jackpot: 2; 3; 4; 5 & 6.
Treble: (i) 1; 2 & 3; (ii) 4; 5 & 6.

Calcutta, April 3: 
Cup Of Life was impressive at today’s work outs.

Outer sand track

1,200m: Cancun (Rb) in 1-29s; (400m) 30s. Unextended
800m: Cup Of Life (C. Alford) in 52s; (400m) 26s. Good. Kargil Soldier (Gowli) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Moved easy. Calculus (Khalander) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Looking well. High Life (M. Reuben) and Friendly Knight (Kujur) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Former far better. Storm Centre (Upadhya) and Supreme Desire (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Former 5 ls better. Royal Ruler (P. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 29s. Fit. Pure Passion (Rutherford) and Red Trident (Yadav) in 55s; (400m) 26s. Former 2 ls better. Iron Warrior (Upadhya) in 1-1s; (400m) 31s. Winning Hand (M. Reuben) and Tsaynen Blue (Gowli) in 53s; (400m) 27s. They were level. Rheinheart (Shanker) in 58s; (400m) 29s. Stately Honour (Amil) and Animator (P. Kumar) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Former 4 ls better. Andrada (C. Alford) and Automatic (Rb) in 52s; (400m) 26s. Former was a length better. Go India Go (Saran S.) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Lady Shirley (Khalander) in 59s; (400m) 30s. Special Sovereign (Amil) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Aherlow (Surender) and Albright (C. Alford) 54s; (400m) 27s. Former was pushed to finish a length in front.
600m: Scavenger’s Son (Engineer) in 40s; (400m) 26s. Was Handy.

Sand track

800m: Mr. Bombshell (Som S.) and Pneumatic Power (A. Imran) in 49s; (400m) 24s. They were level. Bird’s Empire (Tamang) in 1-0s; (400m) 29s.
Pure Energy (Rutherford) in 54s; (400m) 26s. Just Kiding (C. Alford) in 53s; (400m) 27s. Easy. Lovely Duchess (Yadav) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Rule With Honour (M. Reuben) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Easy. Software (Shanker) in 51s; (400m) 25s. Note. Beau Bruno (Som S.) in 51s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Peace Envoy (M. Reuben) and Ace Of Spades (Som S.) in 54s; (400m) 27s. They were level. Added Asset (Tamang) in 52s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Anokato (A. Imran) and Santillana (Saran S.) in 52s; (400m) 24s. Former was 2 ls. better. Crimson King (A. Imran) in 52s; (400m) 24s.
600m: Lovely Project (Upadhya) in 39s; (400m) 25s. Go With The Wind (P. Alford) in 42s; (400m) 27s.

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