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The Bulletin by Anand Vasu
October 18, 2004
India 376 (Sehwag 155, Kaif 64, Patel 54) and 19 for 0 drew with Australia 235 (Langer 71, Kumble 7-48) and 369 (Martyn 104, Kumble 6-130)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Shortly before 1pm on the final day of the Chennai Test, the match was called off after heavy overnight rain and a steady drizzle on Monday morning ruined any chances of play. This meant that the match was drawn - a disappointment for everyone concerned, with the day set up for an enthralling finish. India needed 210 more with 10 wickets in hand to reach the target of 229. This result meant that Australia held on to their 1-0 lead in this four-Test series going into the third Test at Nagpur, starting on October 26.
There was frustration aplenty for Adam Gilchrist and Sourav Ganguly as both teams were in with a real chance of winning this Test. India perhaps had the edge, with Virender Sehwag in belligerent form, but it still could have gone either way. The pitch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium in Nagpur is traditionally a batting beauty, and this will do India's chances of levelling the series no good.
At the post-match presentation ceremony both captains agreed that this match was wide open. "It was delicately poised," said Gilchrist. "The 19 runs India scored last night and the way they played showed their intent. They had every reason to feel optimistic. So too did we because it was such a tough slog to get runs on the fourth day that it would not have been easy for India to knock off the runs."
Ganguly felt that both teams had an even chance at the start of the final day and added, "It was 50-50. We had to bat well to reach the target and on this wicket they had to bowl really well to get us out, as the bounce was quite even and conditions were not so hard for batting."
The gruelling heat and humidity in Chennai sapped the players throughout the course of the match but Gilchrist was happy with the way his team had held up. "This was possibly more the conditions we were expecting, rather than Bangalore where it was a bit cooler. We had a bad first day but we didn't drop our heads. We fought every day and gave us a chance on final day."
Gilchrist also reserved praise for Damien Martyn, who scored a brilliant hundred under pressure. "Martyn come of age as a batsman. Growing up at the WACA we all knew he was good against pace, but many people may have thought he was susceptible against spin. He's now got 100s off [Muttiah] Muralitharan now against these two [spinners]. It would be fair to say he's now the complete package."
Ganguly for his part was heartened by Virender Sehwag's return to form with a cracking 155. "It's good that he [Sehwag] has got a hundred under his belt. It was a much-improved performance by the team. Things are getting better and if I can win the toss at some stage we can do well."
Anil Kumble was one person who took something away from this Test - a motorbike - after he was named the Man of the Match for his effort of 13 for 178. However, he felt that India had the edge going into the final day. "Knowing the way the pitch was playing, and our batting strength, I think we were in with a good chance of winning," he said.
But all that was laid to waste as the day dawned gloomy, with large blue covers adorned not just the pitch and the square but the areas surrounding the bowlers' run-ups as well. The umpires - Rudi Koertzen and David Shepherd - were not optimistic at any point, and when they finally could inspect conditions were left with no choice but to call off play for the day.
Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.