Cricket: Indian blades blunted by rampant McGrath

Australia 282 for 6 India 205 Australia won by 77 runs

IT TOOK Glenn McGrath just 20 balls to turn India's World Cup hopes on their head. Bowling with pace and immaculate direction, the tall fast bowler removed three of India's most revered flashing blades in quick succession after Mark Waugh's silky 83 had helped Australia to score 282 for 6.

Yet India does not have a reputation for fakirs and rope tricks for nothing and just when all looked lost, Robin Singh and Ajay Jadeja combined in a thrilling stand. The main battle was meant to be between Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar, but with the latter out for nought, it was left for others to do his bidding. They did not let him down and in Warne's sixth over, the pair smashed 21 runs, 18 of them coming in sixes.

A powerfully built left-hander, Singh, who hails from Trinidad, blasted a hugely entertaining 75 from 94 balls before falling to to a catch by Paul Reiffel at long leg. But if his 141-run stand did not seriously threaten Australia's grip on the match, it at least ruffled their cockatoo plumage, something that is becoming increasingly erect as this tournament progresses. Before yesterday, Australia had taken something of a pounding in recent times from India, especially on the sub-continent, where the Test and one-day series were both lost largely on the back of some extraordinary batting by Tendulkar. In the space of two months in all cricket, Tendulkar scored 1,130 runs against the Aussies, a total that included one double hundred and five centuries, three of them in one-day internationals.

Despite the stronger form, India, including Tendulkar, tend to travel badly and The Oval pitch, sporting some steep bounce was more Gabba than Gwalior, a factor McGrath exploited with lethal intent. Running in from the Pavilion End, he gave a uncompromised performance of the fast bowler's art that completely disarmed India and their chanting supporters.

A fast bowler whose temper is normally a match for the most sophisticated speedgun, McGrath is not afraid to risk no-balls in a bid to shake the batsmen up. In one-day cricket, anything above shoulder high is considered illegal, but McGrath knows that gifting the opposition the occasional run is nothing compared to the dithering and mental trauma that ensues after a ball has clanged off a collar bone or two.

For once Tendulkar showed extremely mortal tendencies by falling for a duck to the last ball of the first over. His dismissal, caught behind as McGrath drew him forward on off-stump, sent an already hyped Aussie attack into overdrive. In his next over, McGrath hissed one past Rahul Dravid's temple, before having him caught behind in what was essentially a photostat of the Tendulkar dismissal.

Whether it was the size of Australia's total, or an insistence from the man himself, Tendulkar's return to the top of the order was not a success. Mind you, with India having replaced their left-handed opener Sadagopan Ramesh with Singh, it is difficult to see what alternatives they had. Before yesterday, the limited Ramesh had done a fine job taking the shine off the ball. However, Singh, considering the ruination prevailing when he came to the wicket, also did well, his knock showing he is batman and Robin rolled into one.

Not to be outdone, Damien Fleming joined the party, his niggling line luring Saurav Ganguly into a loose off-side push. The off-side is an area that Ganguly favours, and one his team-mates claim he has no peers over, save God. This stroke suggested otherwise and the 8 runs he made was comfortably his lowest score of the tournament.

Going by their previous matches in the World Cup, it would have been something of a rude shock for India's captain Mohammad Azharuddin to come to the wicket with the scoreboard reading 12 for 3 and five close catchers. But if Azha has experienced most things during the 320 one-day games he'd played prior to yesterday's match, he can rarely have played a worse shot as he tamely parried a rising ball from McGrath to gully.

For his trouble, Azha also won the toss, a humble triumph that saw Australia invited to bat. Under murky skies and with a sprinkling of rain delaying the start, bowling was the English thing to do. Unhappily for India, Mark Waugh decided to go back to his Australian ways and play his shots.

At his best, Waugh has feet like a dancer and more cruel strokes than an enthusiastic Miss Whiplash. Using both to marvellous effect he stroked the ball around at will. None of his team mates timed the ball as well and when he was out, flicking Singh to Venkatesh Prasad at long leg, Australia had to revise their ambition of a huge total.

Richard Williams, page 29

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Arts and Entertainment
Ella Henderson's first studio album has gone straight to the top of the charts
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

Life and Style
Paul Nuttall, left, is seen as one of Ukip's key weapons in selling the party to the North of England
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand labelled 'left-wing commie scum' by Fox News
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow


Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Steven Caulker of QPR scores an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool
Arts and Entertainment
artKaren Wright tours the fair and wishes she had £11m to spare
Life and Style
Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh been invited to take part in Women Fashion Power, a new exhibition that celebrates the way women's fashion has changed in relation to their growing power and equality over the past 150 years
fashionKirsty and Camila swap secrets about how to dress for success
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
booksNew book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Year 5/6 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Permanent Year 6 TeacherThe job:This...

KS1 & KS2 Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: KS1+KS2 Teachers required ASAP for l...

Year 2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 2 Teacher The position is to wo...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past