First Test Match

Australia v India, 1999-2000

At Adelaide, December 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Australia won by 285 runs. Toss: Australia.

Losing their top four for 52 on the opening morning proved only a pinprick for Australia. Their batting had enough depth to overcome periodic slumps and, with Warne's powers restored, their bowling was not stretched in subduing opposition whose own batting strength was concentrated on three high-class performers.

With Tendulkar employing Ganguly after lunch, rather than one of his front-line bowlers, and keeping him on too long, Steve Waugh and Ponting were under little pressure as they prepared the ground for Australia's largest fifth-wicket partnership against India, 239. Audacious and versatile in his range of strokes, Ponting contributed 125, hitting 15 fours and looking impregnable until he was run out through a dreadful misunderstanding five minutes before the close. If more watchful, Waugh left nothing loose unpunished and had 17 fours in his 150, scored off 323 balls. His innings gave him not only hundreds against the other eight Test-playing countries - the first to achieve this - but also 150 against all of them except New Zealand, and took him past 8,000 Test runs. He batted on beyond lunch on the second day - Gilchrist was victim to its first ball - and Warne, let off at backward point when 12, equalled his recent career-best with a swashbuckling 86.

India, beginning their reply 40 minutes before tea, lost both openers for just nine. Ramesh was beaten by Blewett's direct hit from long-off as he tried to complete a fourth. But Laxman batted with freedom, unlike his more experienced partner Dravid, as they put on 81 before he paid the penalty for square-cutting McGrath without getting on top of a high-bouncing ball. McGrath in that spell bowled eight overs for one run, and he and Warne, subtle and accurate, allowed Dravid and Tendulkar little licence. Dravid did not survive until stumps, caught at short leg off Warne; Tendulkar, weighed down by the crisis, managed only 12 off 69 balls.

He cast off his shackles the following morning. With Ganguly also at ease and free with his strokes, particularly the square cut, India added 92 in 22 overs before Tendulkar, having scored his last 49 off 64 balls, was adjudged caught at short leg off Warne. The videotape proved him unlucky. However, Warne's dismissal of Ganguly, 14 runs later, was a masterpiece. He drew the left-hander out to scotch the menace of a ball pitched into the rough outside his off stump, beat him with a googly and had him stumped. The lower order struggled manfully, but India were left with a deficit of 156.

As the pitch became uneven in bounce, India made Australia fight for runs by bowling with zest and discipline, and Waugh felt unable to declare until 25 minutes after tea on the fourth afternoon. Blewett, with a sturdy 88 off 262 balls, held the innings together; Gilchrist gave it late momentum at almost a run a ball.

In the 26 overs remaining to the close, McGrath, Fleming and Warne virtually settled the issue by reducing India to 76 for five, still 319 behind. Any hope of a significant revival had been extinguished when Tendulkar ducked to evade a short delivery from McGrath. The ball did not get up, he was struck on the shoulder, and umpire Harper deemed contact had been made in line with the stumps and within their height. Next morning, Fleming claimed four of the remaining wickets; those of Ganguly, acrobatically caught by Gilchrist, and Agarkar with successive balls. A second Test hat-trick was denied him when Warne, at first slip, failed to take a face-high chance offered by Srinath.

Man of the Match: S. R. Waugh. Attendance: 65,610.

© John Wisden & Co