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Anand Vasu in Mumbai
October 20, 2007
Before the game began, as the Australians walked out to the boundary ropes for a stretch the boisterous crowd began its sickening chant of "Aussies Suck". It's a Mumbai speciality, and though you hardly expect respect from the crowds for some of the best performers in the game, you don't want to see this kind of thing either. Mike Young, Australia's fielding coach, did his bit to win the crowd over, walking around the outfield and tossing a ball into each of the stands for a lucky spectator to catch. Handy souvenir from someone you're booing.
After its initial reluctance to warm to the idea the Board of Control for Cricket in India has now embraced Twenty20 as fully as possible. But the organisation, or at least some parts of it, were a shambles when play began. For nearly ten overs there was no electricity in two stands and the tower housing the broadcasters and the media. The BCCI are quite good at keeping the media in the dark when they want, but this surely was the first time they did so literally.
Twelve and out
Brett Lee used to be part of a band that called itself Six and Out. On the day it was 12 and out for Adam Gilchrist. Off the very first over, in a supercharged atmosphere, Gilchrist carted the second, third and fourth deliveries from RP Singh for boundaries. A streaky edge between slip and keeper, a slash over point, a whip to fine-leg and middle stump uprooted next ball by a superb yorker. In all his innings consumed just three minutes. Not even enough time to cook instant noodles.
With the DJ pumping music that was geeing the crowd up - as if they needed any help - it was perhaps not surprising that Sreesanth, never one to keep his calm at the best of times, chose to bounce Matthew Hayden. The ball was pacy and climbed sharply on Hayden, but he was up to it, pulling off the front foot, with such monstrous power that the ball didn't merely go high, it went far as well, clearing first the ropes and then the stands on the leg side, sailing out of the ground. Hitting sixes is one thing, but clearing the stands? That takes some doing.
End of the road?
Brad Hodge, for all the long rope he has been given, has failed to come up with one meaningful score in this Indian sojourn. His latest knock, perhaps his last in green and gold, lasted all of six balls and produced two runs, before Irfan Pathan got a straight one to slide through. Hodge, attempting to biff the ball over midwicket, was nowhere near the ball and the middle stump landed in Mahendra Singh Dhoni's gloves.
First sighting of Hilfy
Ben Hilfenhaus has travelled to Bangalore, Kochi, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Vadodara, Nagpur and Mumbai without bowling a single ball. When the swing bowler from Tasmania got his first go, it should have produced a wicket. Gautam Gambhir sliced one high and wide towards mid-off, and it was safely pouched by Stuart Clark. Just as the Australians began to celebrate Suresh Shastri, the umpire, signalled the no-ball with a smile on his face. The free-hit cost nothing but one wasn't too sure if Hilfenhaus saw the funny side of it.
Also, most brothers in a Test XI, and the fastest to 20 ODI centuries