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Ricky Ponting suggested this triangular series would be tougher than the World Cup for his depleted squad, but as it happened the result was exactly the same - Australia beat India in the final with New Zealand some way down the track. It was a sobering reminder of Australia's depth of talent: they overcame the absence of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, Stuart MacGill and Darren Lehmann to take the tournament by storm, losing only once in seven matches.
Having arrived in India just three days before their first match, Ponting's side received a setback at Gwalior before embarking on a six-match winning streak, including a 37-run victory against the hosts in the final at Eden Gardens. Far from looking vulnerable, the Australians received excellent overall contributions from their senior batsmen and an enthusiastic response from their lesser-known pacemen, Nathan Bracken and Brad Williams. Bracken was the tournament's top wicket-taker, with 14, and had the lowest average (13.92); Williams was not far behind, taking nine wickets in the first two matches against New Zealand.
For India, the only consolation was the form of Sachin Tendulkar, who was the top run-scorer with 466 - at an average of 77.66 and a strike-rate of 89.10. Sourav Ganguly's leg infection meant he played only the last two qualifying games, and the spinners, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, were less penetrating than usual. Indeed, for a few days, India were in danger of missing out on their own tournament final. Then they came to life against New Zealand at Hyderabad, smashing 353 for five. The New Zealanders, who performed so strongly in the Test series just beforehand, hardly fired a shot during the one-day competition.
Injuries meant the side were a skeleton crew. But even so there were some sobering truths to emerge from the series, not least the waning influence of Chris Harris, the ineffectiveness of Chris Nevin and the inconsistency of Lou Vincent, who had earlier emerged as one of the success stories of the Test series.
Match reports for