February 4, 2003

Australia all class in easy nine-wicket win over India

Given the cool conditions that blew across Bert Sutcliffe Oval today, and the state of the tournament points table, it wasn't surprising that India barely went through the motions while Australia were hardly required to stretch themselves before taking an easy nine-wicket win in the World Series of Women's Cricket.

An opening stand of 96 runs, the loss of captain Belinda Clark for 49 and the second One-Day International half century for Lisa Sthalekar who ended on 58 not out off 80 balls, were the highlights of Australia's response to India's 134 for seven wickets.

Karen Rolton also had time to pick up 21 runs off 21 balls.

It was hardly the sort of match Australia would have wanted to celebrate their 150th One-Day International. It did give them their 120th victory. They have had 26 losses, three no results and one tie, a notable occasion against England in the 1982 World Cup tournament played in New Zealand.

India's innings seemed aimed at allowing batsmen time in the middle with the focus on occupation rather than accumulation of runs.

The game was dead, and it was a chance for some variations from the usual game plan, but the enjoyment can only have been in completing the 50 overs with wickets still intact because there was little of entertainment value to be had.

The 50 took 158 balls and the 100 took 242 balls. By comparison Australia's 50 took 81 balls and their 100 took 139 balls, a fair indication of the difference in approach to the batting of both sides.

The nature of the tournament draw means that India will play England on both Thursday and Friday. Thursday being another dead match while Friday will decide third and fourth places in the event.

Few of the batsmen could reflect on any glory from the innings. Anjum Chopra top scored with 25, but it took 84 balls and while all the others got starts it was only some lower-order hitting that saw Sulakshana Naik get second top score with 18.

Australia's bowlers all shared in the benefits to be had from the Indian somnolence and took advantage of the opportunity to boost the economy rate of their bowling.

Emma Twining had one for 13 from nine overs, Clea Smith had two for 30 off nine overs, Rolton none for 17 from six, Julie Hayes had none for 22, Alex Blackwell had two for 18 off six overs, Sthalekar one for 19 from seven and Kris Britt none for nine off four.

The successful Indian bowler was Amita Sharma who took one for 25.