Cricket: Fleming misses out on historic feat

Australia 441 & 239-8 dec India 285 & 110 Australia win by 285 runs
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AUSTRALIA WRAPPED up victory over India on the final day of the first Test here yesterday, as controversy continued over the dismissal of the touring side's captain, Sachin Tendulkar. The hosts skittled out India for 110 in the second innings to claim the match by 285 runs for their fifth Test win in a row.

Set the almost impossible task of making 396 to win, India crumbled early in the day, losing their last five wickets for 34 runs in 53 minutes as the pace bowler Damien Fleming took four more wickets to finish with 5 for 30. Fleming should have secured his second Test hat-trick but was deprived of that place in cricket history when Shane Warne, at first slip, dropped a catch from the first ball faced by Javagal Srinath.

Tendulkar was out in questionable fashion in both innings. But controversy raged after his second-innings dismissal, adjudged by the umpire Daryl Harper to be lbw when a short ball from the pace bowler, Glenn McGrath, failed to get up and hit him on the left shoulder as he ducked in front of the stumps.

"The whole world has seen the dismissal on TV, and I don't think I should be talking much about it," Tendulkar said afterwards. "My job now is to concentrate on the next four innings I have to play in this series. I was very, very unhappy that I got out - not because of the umpire's decision but because I could not spend some time in the middle," he added.

Steve Waugh, the Australia captain who appealed from his position in the gully, said he believed the decision which ended Tendulkar's innings was a legitimate lbw verdict because the ball was not going over the stumps. Waugh said: "A lot's been made of this, but Justin Langer went into this game with successive hundreds under his belt and got a debatable decision in the first innings, but nothing was said. So let's put the issue in perspective. Tendulkar is a great player, but I do not think one decision altered the course of this match."

On the last day Saurav Ganguly, the India vice-captain who had resumed with 31, completed a one-and-a-half-hour 43 before becoming Fleming's first victim of the day when he fell to a spectacular catch by the wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.

Then Ajit Agarkar was trapped first ball, edging a catch to Steve Waugh in the gully. Srinath tickled the next delivery to first slip, where Warne muffed the shoulder-high chance and deprived Fleming of a famous achievement. Fleming would have become only the fourth player since Test cricket began 122 years ago to take two hat-tricks. His first came against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in 1994-95.

Final day; Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA - First innings 441 (S R Waugh 150, R T Ponting 125, S K Warne 86).

INDIA - First innings 285 (S R Tendulkar 61, S C Ganguly 60; S K Warne 4-92).

AUSTRALIA - Second innings 239 for 8 dec (G S Blewett 88).

INDIA - Second innings

(Overnight: 76 for 5)

S Ganguly c Gilchrist b Fleming 43

M S K Prasad c Langer b Fleming 11

A B Agarkar c S Waugh b Fleming 0

J Srinath c Slater b McGrath 11

A Kumble b Fleming 3

B K V Prasad not out 2

Extras (lb1 nb5 ) 6

Total 110

Fall (cont): 6-93 7-93 8-102 9-108.

Bowling: McGrath 12-2-35-3 (4nb); Fleming 9.1-2-30-5; Warne 10-6-21-2; Kasprowicz 6-0-23-0 (1nb); M Waugh 1-1-0-0.

Umpires: D J Harper and R S Dunne (NZ).