India soar as Sachin scales Peak 10K
Skippers� face-off turns nasty
Just one of those things: Sachin
Sarandeep in, Joshi out
Mohun Bagan salvage draw vs JCT
EB cautious against AI
Mumbai Races/ Iceberg may be hard to down
Mumbai Races/ Criollo romps home
Calcutta Races/ Crucible catches attention

Indore, March 31: 
India 299/8 (50 ovs)
Australia 181 (35.5 ovs)
MoM: Sachin

When the world of cricket waited for just 34 runs to raise a toast, Sachin Tendulkar decided to deliver a hundred more. At a packed and noisy Nehru Stadium here, the man who became the first in the world to 10,000 runs in one-day Internationals today was also the man who set up India�s 118-run victory in the third match of this high-voltage series with world champions Australia.

In all the hype that swelled around Sachin�s impending landmark, it was refreshing to see the Indians not losing focus in a match that was to hand over the crucial advantage midway in the series. Of course, much of that credit must go to the �Little Master� himself � for arriving and crossing it as one would a milestone on a long journey.

As if to remind the rest how entertaining that journey has been for everybody, Sachin blossomed into his best well after the landmark had whizzed past. It was an innings flaunting skills of the highest order and daring. A daring born out of an unflinching belief in his own abilities. A daring that often brought a cockiness in his strokeplay that was delightful as it was dangerous.

Man-of-the-Match Sachin would perish to it in the end, but by then 139 runs had been put in his kitty in just 125 deliveries. With form-man V.V.S. Laxman lending a hand at the other end with an 88-ball 83 � his share in a 199-run second-wicket partnership that came in just 182 balls � India posted a challenging 299 despite a late collapse. After raising visions of another great chase, the Aussies managed 181, never recovering from a collapse that saw wickets fall in the space of eight overs.

Harbhajan Singh, one of the heroes of the Test-series victory, showed there was a role for him in the game�s shorter version as well. Having the Aussie middle-order in a tangle with his off-spin, the youngster returned three for 37 from nine overs. Ajit Agarkar had a little bit of reverse swing going as he too took three wickets.

Jawagal Srinath had two, while skipper Sourav Ganguly recovered some ground for himself after yet another batting failure. Among Harbhajan�s victims were Adam Gilchrist and Michael Bevan � players capable of turning a match on its head within a few overs.

Gilchrist, back to an opening slot in the absence of both Mark Waugh and Matthew Hayden, was threatening to take the match away again when he pulled a full-toss from Harbhajan straight to Sourav at mid-wicket. The skipper had dropped him at the same position off Harbhajan a couple of overs earlier. Bevan was just getting into his busy self when he dragged one onto his stumps.

Steve Waugh was soon waging a lonely battle, and Sourav ended his innings when the Aussie skipper holed out to Sachin at long-on. That there is no love lost between the two rival skippers was evident again in another exchange of words between the two.

But it was the morning that most at the Nehru Stadium would remember more.

Put into bat by Steve Waugh after a toss that produced a controversy, the Indians came in with a new opening pair after Sourav Ganguly decided to come lower down the order. Rahul Dravid, who accompanied Sachin, was looking good after some trying moments when he fell at 32. It brought Sachin and Laxman together for a stand that was entertaining as it was crucial for India.

Laxman was quick to show that he is a man in form, as he punched holes in the infield with wristy strokes. He had a scare on 31, when a loud appeal for caught-behind was turned down, but that hardly bothered him as he sailed along with the Sachin. The Little Master, who had started with a cautious judging of the pace of the wicket, was soon moving up a gear though he did keep the crowd waiting agonisingly long after moving to within a stroke of his 10,000. His fifty, which had five fours, took 66 balls to get but there was a big acceleration thereafter.

The partnership ended when Laxman, who reached his half-century with the one-bounce straight four off Shane Warne (62 balls, four boundaries), was run out yet again. Laxman, who had fallen to a direct throw in the last match, paid that price for not running the first run in an attepted two quickly � especially when he was taking on the arm of the powerful Andrew Symonds. His 83 had six boundaries.

Sachin carried as India suffered a slide. Sourav lasted just three deliveries, giving Damien Fleming the charge only to hole out to Bevan on the 30-yard circle at widish mid-off. He walked back to chants of �hai, hai� from the crowd. It�s a pity someone who has brought about such a positive change in attitude in the Indian team should find his form desert him during one of its best periods.

The Indians� running between wickets has been talked about so much in recent weeks, and another run-out in the match was to remind that the problem is far from solved. Badani, sent back by Sachin after darting back for his second run, falied to beat a direct throw from wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.

Sachin was by now in full flow, punctuating quick running between wickets and some classical cricket strokes with the audacious. Damien Martyn and Andrew Symonds were simply taken apart in the mid-overs, before he turned his attention to McGrath when the pacer returned for his final spell. His comeback over yielded 11 runs and then, in the next, Sachin was ready to challenge him further. Stepping across to make room, he patted a ball on the off-stump to the fine-leg fence. But McGrath had the last laugh when Sachin, shaping to play a similar shot, miscued the hook to be caught by Fleming at backward square-leg some 35 yards from the wicket. By then he had hit 19 fours to all parts of the ground.

McGrath, who was also supposed to sit out as part of the Aussie �rotational policy�, was playing only because of �Nathan Bracken has the flu�, according to skipper Steve Waugh. He made good use of the outing by becoming only the second bowler from his country (Craig McDermott and Shane Warne are the others) completing 200 wickets in one-day Internationals. He reached the milestone with the scalp of Vijay Dahiya.

He and Ian Harvey knocked back the wickets in the end to slow down the Indians and deny them around 30-40 more runs. It didn�t make a difference in the end, as the Aussies again showed an amazing inability to handle pressure.


Indore, March 31: 
It started with a psychological battle even before the series had begun. With the series turning into a nothing-given-nothing-asked-for affair, the face-off between Sourav Ganguly and Steve Waugh has developed into something of a personal nature. Today it took a nasty turn, with the Aussie skipper suggesting that his counterpart was cheating at the toss.

The Aussie skipper was not forthcoming at the official post-match media conference, but he hinted that something was amiss at the toss. He later told Australian scribes how the Indian skipper had tried to claim the toss this morning after he had lost it.

�You should speak to (Match Referee) Cammie Smith, who knows all about it,� was all the Aussie skipper would say at the press conference, though he did complain about being kept waiting at every toss by Sourav.

�It must be seven-in-a-row (that he has done that) now,� he quipped when asked about it, adding that Cammie Smith was pretty annoyed about it as well.

Sourav, of course, had a lot to answer when the Indians came for their press conference.

�What happened was that, we�re using new coins everyday, so there was a different coin today as well. When I threw up the coin, I walked up to it and couldn�t figure out whether it was heads or tails, and I asked Cammie Smith whether it�s heads or tails,� Sourav explained.

�I don�t know what the controversy is all about. If I don�t know something, I�m supposed to ask. I�ve never said I�ve won the toss or that you (Steve) lost it.�

When asked whether the Match Referee had pointed out which side was which, Sourav said �If I�d figured it out, I wouldn�t have asked him. The toss doesn�t matter, it�s the game that matters.�

The Indian skipper said his going for the toss �a couple of minutes late� was because of the commitments in the morning. �You know, you want to do your own thing � have a knock, conduct fielding� Anyway, I�ll make sure it doesn�t happen the next time.�

Smith was unavailable for comment. The Match Referee had joined the rest of the bandwagon as it left for Mumbai this evening enroute to Visakhapatnam, where the fourth one-day International comes off on Tuesday.

Things have certainly come to a head between the two skippers. Worse still is that certain sections of the Australian media are willing to see it in another light. Sourav, spotlessly clean during cricket�s most trying period, may well find himself dragged into a nasty controversy.


Indore, March 31: 
When it arrived, with a light drive to mid-off for a single, it almost didn�t match the occasion. It was like slipping in quietly through the backdoor while the welcome party waited at the front gate. A single to reach 10,000!

�I know, as soon as I came within a stroke of the mark, the crowd wanted a six. That�s the last thing I wanted to do,� Sachin told mediapersons after today�s match at the Nehru Stadium. �I just wanted to hang around till around the 40th over as was the plan,� he said.

But wasn�t he under any pressure because of the looming landmark? �Not really, but I�ll be lying if I said I wasn�t aware of it,� he quipped. While saying �it felt great�, the Little Master pointed out it was �one of those things because I�ve played for such a long time�. He was happy the 139, which he described as �surely, one of my better knocks�, had �come at the right time, because the team had won�.

Then he went about thanking, Oscar-style, �all who had helped him� achieve this goal. Among them were some special words for the Indian dressing room. �The backing I�ve got from the dressing room has meant a lot,� he said.

So what�s the next peak to climb? �I don�t have targets as such. I�d like to take things as they come. Every time I go out, I go out to make runs,� he said.

Skipper Sourav Ganguly had a short but appropriate tribute. �It�s a tremendous achievement, but I�m not surprised,� he said, summing a lot of people�s feelings.

Steve defends rotational policy

The Australians� rotational policy was quite expectedly questioned in the wake of today�s huge loss, but skipper Steve Waugh stuck to his guns. His vehement defence of the system, which calls for even players in form to be rested from time to time, also revealed that Australia�s preparations for the defence of their World Cup title is well underway.

�Right or wrong, we�ll now have to back ourselves,� he said, when touring Aussie scribes questioned the logic behind the experiment. �We�ll see the benefits of this in the World Cup in three years time � not today, not next week or something like that. It�s a difficult and it�ll take a little adjusting too.�

The Australian think-tank obviously feels that to meet the demands of long tournaments like the World Cup, where the risk of missing key players through injuries or fatigue or even have them performing at their peak is difficult, the players and the team need to develop versatility. They are now simulating situations where the team is forced to play without a key player or two or players themselves called upon to bat at different positions.

All this, obviously, involves a great amount of �calculated risk� in certain situations like the one they face in the present series, but it looks like the Aussies are bent on carrying out this policy till they reach that competence.

�There is always resistance to change. When you lose, questions are going to be asked but you have to look at the bigger picture, not what happened today,� Steve said.

On today�s match, he doesn�t read too much into the huge margin of defeat. �Whether its 150 or one, it�s still a defeat,� he said, adding: �The important thing is that we showed we�re not good enough to bat under pressure. We�ll have to rectify that quickly.�

Sourav said primary discussions over Rahul Dravid coming in to open the Indian innings instead of him had started yesterday, though the final decision was taken only this morning.

When attention was drawn to his bad form, the Indian skipper pointed out that �such things happen� in cricket. �I�ve also had some great runs in international cricket, so I know it�s a bad patch,� he said, adding: �Of course, the quicker I get out of it the better. The best thing is that the team is winning.�

He too doesn�t see too much into the big win. �There are two very good teams doing battle, so how we play on the day of the match counts. They are capable of bouncing back as well,� he warned.


Indore, March 31: 
Punjab off-spinner Sarandeep Singh replaced left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi as the Indian selectors made just one change for the last two one-day Internationals against the visiting Australians.

Announcing the 14, BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele informed that �should the Sharjah tour be cleared�, Reetinder Singh Sodhi will become the 15th member of that side.

The chief selector will, in that case, also name an extra spinner in consultation with the other selectors, at the expense of one player from the 14 announced today.


Sourav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, Hemang Badani, Robin Singh, Vijay Dahiya, Dinesh Mongia, Ajit Agarkar, Jawagal Srinath, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Sarandeep Singh, Yuvraj Singh.


Calcutta, March 31: 
Mohun Bagan 2

Producing a brand of soccer thoroughly unbecoming of title-hopefuls, Mohun Bagan salvaged a 2-2 draw against bottom-placed JCT in the National Football League today.

Missing a host of regulars, as did the Punjab outfit, the defending champions began well, showing a sense of urgency but were left shocked by the JCT resurgence.

Sukhjit Singh and Hardeep Gill scored two contrasting yet smart goals to put the visitors 2-0 up by halftime. Lolendra Singh pulled one back shortly after resumption before Amar Ganguly got the equaliser 13 minutes from time.

The draw took Mohun Bagan�s tally to 32 after 17 matches � three short of leaders East Bengal, who have played a game less. JCT, still at the bottom of the table, have 12 from 17 games.

The city trip turned out to be decent for the winners of the inaugural League as they go back with two points following two 2-2 draws. The earlier one was against East Bengal Wednesday.

Fielding new Bangladesh recruit Alfaaz Ahmed as partner to striker Ganguly, Mohun Bagan won a major share of the early exchanges and opened up the goalmouth in the tenth minute.

Basudeb Mondal�s pass found Ganguly in the clear on the right side of the box but the striker carried the ball to a difficult angle and drove a right-footer across the face of the goal.

JCT soaked up the early pressure and started making some spirited runs down the middle and along the wings and, on most occasions, troubled the defence by sheer pace.

Goalkeeper Rajat Ghosh Dastidar barely got his fingertips to a fierce freekick by Ram Pal in the 26th minute and tipped it over for a corner. Gill floated the ball in from the left and an unmarked Sukhjit, near the far post, produced a deft right-footed flick to send it home.

The next goal was perhaps the best scored at Salt Lake Stadium this season. Gill picked up a loose ball about ten metres from the corner flag and unleashed a curling right-footer from an acute angle which hit the roof of the net at the far corner.

Suddenly, Mohun Bagan were playing to save a match which many thought would take them closer to their traditional rivals. The time demanded desperation and defender Sumit Sengupta was brought in as striker in place of Flavio Lopez.

JCT panicked somewhat at this juncture and allowed Mohun Bagan too much room just in front of the penalty box. Not that this was taken full advantage of as most forays ended in crosses from the flanks which were safely dealt with by the tall JCT defenders and �keeper Arvind Kumar.

However, Mohun Bagan forced a penalty when Lolendro Singh�s shot from outside the box hit Daljit Singh�s arm. Lolendro himself took the kick but his left-footer was parried by Kumar. Luckily for Mohun Bagan, the ball bouned back towards Lolendro who headed the ball in.

The equaliser came in the 77th minute when James Singh�s through found Ganguly inside the box and this time the striker managed to slip it between the legs of an advancing �keeper. JCT, when on the counter, and Mohun Bagan forced a few chances each after that but good goalkeeping at both ends prevented further scoring.


JCT: Arvind Kumar; Tarsem Lal, Ranjit Singh, Balkar Singh, Daljit Singh; Jaswinder Singh (J. Randhawa, 65), Sameer, Ram Pal, Jaswant Singh (Jaspreet Singh, 55); Hardeep Gill, Sukhjit Singh.

MOHUN BAGAN: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar; Dulal Biswas, Amauri da Silva, M. Suresh (Jayanta Sen, 65), Lolendro Singh; James Singh, Basudeb Mondal, Debjit Ghosh, Naushad Pari (Flavio Lopez, 33; Sumit Sengupta, 53); Amar Ganguly, Alfaaz Ahmed.

Referee: Kishan Avtar (Delhi).


Calcutta, March 31: 
Having entered the home stretch of the National League, still as leaders, East Bengal were cautious on the eve of tomorrow�s 17-round match against Air India.

With 35 points from 16 matches, and FC Kochin and Mohun Bagan following with 32 each, East Bengal need a win to open up a comforting lead.

That eluded Manoranjan Bhattacharjee�s men in the last match against lowly JCT Wednesday when they surrendered a one-goal advantage to settle for a 2-2 draw.

This time, the coach has warned his wards against complacency as they once again face a team which is not well-placed in the points table.

With 14 points from 16 matches, Air India will miss Tomba Singh (injured) and defender Tapas Ghosh (two bookings).

East Bengal are likely to field Dipendu Biswas, Jackson Egygpong and Chandan Das though none of them are fully fit. The coach says he has no other choice.


Calcutta, March 31: 
SAI Training Centre, Calcutta, registered an impressive 4-1 win over ITBP in a fourth-round Beighton Cup match at the CC&FC today.

Paulus Soy opened the scoreline for the local league champions in the ninth minute and two minutes later, Edmund Karketta made it 2-0. Atal Tirkey struck two more in the second half before Mahi Pal Singh reduced the margin three minutes from the hooter.

Sikh Regimental Centre edged past BSF, North Bengal, 1-0 in another fourth-round match at Mohun Bagan ground. Baljit Singh scored in the 27th minute.

The CESC versus Bombay Customs tie fell through as the latter�s train arrived late. This match will be played tomorrow.


Mumbai, March 31: 
A well-performed horse in an elite juvenile company, Iceberg may be hard to down in the 1,200m Gool S. Poonawalla Million the main attraction at the Mumbai races on Sunday. N. G. McCullagh partners the Bezan Chenoy-trained filly by Placerville out of Frost Queen.


2 pm: Northern Frontier 1. Mille Fiori 2. Winning Melody 3.
2.30 pm: Awesome Power 1. Blushing Brave 2. Multi Millionaire 3.
3 pm: Sanaga 1. Cozumel 2. Saytarra 3.
3.30 pm: Secret Force 1. Dazzling Gold 2. Hi Fidelity 3.
4 pm: Daring Don 1. Communicator 2. Feel The Force 3.
4.30 pm: Iceberg 1. Raziya 2. Thunderlite 3.
5 pm: Majestic Hills 1. Attia In Sunlight 2. Heavy Weight 3.
5.30 pm: Strength To Strength 1. Safarando 2. Prince Nicholas 3.
6 pm: Au Revoir 1. Crown Dream 2. Diplomat Rose 3.
Day�s Best: Iceberg
Double: Northern Frontier & Daring Don

umbai, March 31: 
Ridden by N. G. McCullagh and trained by Altaf Hussain, Criollo romped home with the Exhilaration Trophy, the main event at the Mumbai races held on Saturday.


(With inter-state dividends)
1. Exhilaration Trophy 1,400m; (1-2-3) Criollo (McCullagh) 1; Smokin� Joe 2; Amaron 3. Won by: 5-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-27.3). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 11; 33; Quinella: 47; Tanala: 127. Fav: Criollo (1).
2. Meherjee J. Dhunjishaw Plate 1,800m: (2-1-3) Foolish Oursuit (McCullagh) 1; Color Me Good 2; Epic Queen 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 3/4; (1-55.6). Fav: Foolish Pursuit (2). (Note: Due to technical problem the totalisator did not operate up to the fourth race).
3. Lady-Be-Good Plate 1,600m: (2-4-7) Exhilarating (Prakash) 1; White Lie 2; Courraggio 3. Not run: Software Lady (1). Won by: 3/4; 5; (1-42). Fav: That�s Momentum (3).
4. Mangal Plate 1,200m: (2-4-3) Millenium Star (Belose) 1; Golden Tiger 2; Foreign Connection 3. Won by: 3-1/4; Dist; (1-13.7). Fav: Foreign Connection (3).
5. Portrait Attachment Plate 1,100m: (3-1-4) Zehera (Merchant) 1; Moira 2; Magic Boy 3. Won by: SH; 3-1/4; (1-1-8.6). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 11; 16; 20; Quinella: 30; Tanala; 110. Fav: Zehera (3).
6. Red Flannel Plate 1,200m: (4-7-6) River God (Gallagher) 1; Crown Affair 2; Blues Clues 3. Won by: 6; 5-1/2; (1-13). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 13; 24; 19; Quinella: 43; Tanala: 225. Fav: River God (4).
7. G. R. Khairaz Plate 1,100m: (5-15-9) Fantasy (Prakash) 1; Snow Star 2; Dancing Dreams 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/4; (1-6.9). Tote: Win Rs 37; Place: 17; 17; 19; Quinella: 51; Tanala: 337. Fav: Snow Star (15).
Jackpot: Investments was refunded.
Treble: (i) Investments was refunded.
(ii) Rs 118

Calcutta, March 31: 
Crucible, Aldebro, Actress and No Regrets were impressive from among the following horses seen exercising today morning:

Outer sand track

1,400m: Lovely Prospect (Tamang) and Pneumatic Power (A. Imran) in 1-47s; (400m) 28s. Former was a length better. No Regrets (Gowli) and Flying Scot (M. Reuben) in 1-43s; (400m) 28. Former a length better. They were urged. Alembic (Surender) and Freedom Warrior (C. Alford) in 1-42s; (400m) 27. Former a length better.
1,200m: Aldebro (A. P. Singh) and Actress (C. Alford) in 1-24s; (400m) 31s. They were level. Crucible (C. Alford) and Master Bold (Amil) in 1-21s; (400m) 27. Former was far better.
1,000m: Just Kidding (P. Alford) in 1-17s; (400m) 30s. Easy.
800m: Royal Ruler (Rutherford) and Pure Passion (P. Alford) in 58s; (400m) 29s. They were level. Scavenger�s Son (Engineer) in 54s; (400m) 28s. Maintains form. Reactor (Shanker) in 54s; (400m) 28s. Good. Athletico (Surender) 1-1s; (400m) 30s. Cup Of Life (Rb) in 59s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Alborada (A. Imran) in 1-1s; (400m) 29s. Ace Of Spades (Tamang) in 59s; (400m) 31s. Ashbury (Rb) in 1-1s; (400m) 26s. Mr. Bombshell (Saran S.) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Fit.
600m: Double Cross (P. Kumar) in 42s; (400m) 28s. Was urged.

Sand track

1,200m: Supreme Desire (Rb) and Iron Warrior (Upadhya) in 1-25s; (400m) 25s. They were level. Storm Centre (Upadhya) in 1-24s; (400m) 24s. Fit.
800m: Pure Energy (Rutherford) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Added Asset (B. Gurang) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Fencai (M. Reuben) in 1-1s; (400m) 30s. Animator (P. Kumar) in 55s; (400m) 25s. Double Dancer (M. Reuben) and Rule With Honour (Rb) in 51s; (400m) 25s. Both were level. Ballet Master (A. Imran) in 55s; (400m) 25s. Easy. Stella Blue (P. Kumar) in 56s; (400m) 28s.

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