Tendulkar makes it child's play

CRICKET WORLD CUP: West Indies batsmen embarrassed by their hosts while Kent favourite carries Sri Lanka to big win
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The Independent Online
reports from Gwalior

West Indies 173 India 174-5 (India win by five wickets)

The big guns did not exactly roar, but the crowd did not mind. India beat the West Indies yesterday with some ease and a fair amount of panache. Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble made the West Indies batting look frail, bowling them out for just 173; and then Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammed Azharuddin and Vinod Kambli made Caribbean fast bowling look like child's play. It was an emphatic triumph, and the boisterous crowd set fire to their match cards and waived them in an appreciative torch-lit parade.

For the West Indies, it was a day-night to forget. Brian Lara and Courtney Browne are sharing a room in their Gwalior hotel, and it is a fairly safe bet that the "do not disturb" sign will not be removed for a long time tomorrow. Lara was given out caught behind for two off a ball that appeared to clip his pad (a decision he greeted with ostentatious and perhaps justifiable disbelief). And Browne dropped the sort of catch he would not spill even in nightmares - a simple top-edged dolly to short-leg.

It was an exotic miss, the batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, was on 22 at the time, and had he been out India would have been 32 for 3; and even though they were chasing only 173 the alarm bells would have made the stadium tremble. As it was, Azharuddin took eight runs off the next three balls, and India were away. When the next wicket fell (Azharuddin clomping Roger Harper to Courtney Walsh at deep mid-off) the score had moved on to 94, and with Tendulkar swotting the ball wherever he pleased the game seemed as good as won.

The West Indies started off on the wrong foot, and stayed there. After Lara went, Richie Richardson and Shivnarine Chanderpaul promised to turn things around with a stand of 67, but both went in rapid succession, and the innings died. Richardson took aim at the leg-side boundary and missed by two feet, Kambli taking the catch; and Chanderpaul was undone by another long hop, which he clubbed to a diving Azharuddin at midwicket. Harper and Browne reached double figures, but not by much.

At the start of India's innings, it looked for a minute as if Curtly Ambrose might have one of his special days. He ran in fast and bowled Ajaysinhji Jadeja and Navjot Sidhu with low snorters. But Tendulkar was batting as if he was anxious to catch the night train to Delhi. He took 20 off the first five overs, and carried on from there. Anything straight he whirled through the leg side; anything over-pitched he thumped back past the bowler. When Browne gave him that let-off it made the crowd's day. It was almost appropriate, given that the gods were smiling on him, that he should reach 50 through a misfield from Lara.

With the match almost in the bag, Tendulkar ran himself out, and the innings faltered. Richardson, not noted for the boldness of his field settings, pulled eight men into the circle. Harper bowled with a short leg and a silly point. It looked almost like cricket, and it almost paid off. Walsh bowled a couple of maidens, and the next seven overs leaked just eight runs. Worse, Manoj Prabhakar lost patience and drilled a return catch into Harper's hands - not the most sensible place to aim.

But it was too late. Kambli and Nayan Mongia played themselves in and then lashed the ball through and over the infield. When Kambli hoisted Ambrose for a humbling six over midwicket the stadium literally caught fire.

Gwalior scoreboard

(West Indies won toss)

WEST INDIES

S C Campbell b Srinath 5

*R B Richardson c Kambli b Prabhakar 47

B C Lara c Mongia b Srinath 2

S Chanderpaul c Azharuddin b Kapoor 38

R I C Holder b Kumble 0

R A Harper b Kumble 23

C O Browne b Prabhakar 18

O D Gibson b Kumble 6

I A Bishop run out 9

C E L Ambrose c Kumble b Prabhakar 8

C A Walsh not out 9

Extras (lb2, w5, nb1) 8

Total (50 overs) 173

Fall: 1-16, 2-24, 3-91, 4-99, 5-99, 6-141, 7-141, 8-149, 9-162.

Bowling: Prabhakar 10-0-39-3; Srinath 10-0-22-2; Kumble 10-0-35-3; Venkatesh Prasad 10-0-34-0; Kapoor 10-2-41-1.

INDIA

A D Jadeja b Ambrose 1

S R Tendulkar run out 70

N S Sidhu b Ambrose 1

*M Azharuddin c Walsh b Harper 32

V G Kambli not out 33

M Prabhakar c & b Harper 1

N R Mongia not out 24

Extras (lb3, w1, nb8) 12

Total (for 5, 39.4 overs) 174

Fall: 1-2, 2-15, 3-94, 4-125, 5-127.

Did not bat: A R Kumble, J Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, A R Kapoor.

Bowling: Ambrose 8-1-41-2; Walsh 9-3-18-0; Bishop 5-0-28-0; Gibson 8.4- 0-50-0; Harper 9-1-34-2.

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