India on Sunday completed their first victory of their 1999/2000 Australian tour, defeating New South Wales by 93 runs this afternoon. The final three wickets fell in 27 minutes after the tea adjournment.
Under overcast and humid conditions, NSW batted slowly through the pre-lunch session on the final day. Needing 222 today to win, the Blues scored just 42 runs in two hours for the loss of one wicket, going to lunch at 106 for two. Though a batting lineup capable of 180 in four hours was still in the pavilion, it was obvious it would require a major change in attitude from what was on display in the morning.
Nightwatchman Gavin Robertson (10) added two runs to his overnight score before being trapped lbw not playing a shot by a Srinath delivery which nipped in slightly from the off. Umpire Simon Taufel, who had been the genesis of much Indian angst in the final overs yesterday, gave the decision and NSW were 80 for two.
Greg Hayne brought his maiden first-class half-century from his 85th delivery, achieved from 84 runs scored by his side.
NSW captain Michael Bevan looked unimpressive and was almost dismissed before getting off the mark when he popped a short ball from Srinath just out of the reach of Vijay Bharadwaj at short leg. Bevan took eighteen deliveries to get off the mark.
Only one boundary was scored in the whole morning session, Hayne gliding Agarkar through point about half an hour before lunch. Vijay Bharadwaj (9-4-6-0) was given his first bowling spell of the match and was getting some useful turn with his off-breaks. He was replaced by HH Kanitkar for one tame over before lunch. At the interval Hayne was 59 and Bevan 11 from 79 balls.
India struck hard in the post lunch session and looked poised for victory at the tea break. With the Blues choosing to go for a draw instead of a win, five wickets fell for the addition of 65 runs in the mid-afternoon session and the home team went to tea at 171 for seven.
Bevan's dismal captain's knock ended shortly after lunch when he padded up to Javagal Srinath and Simon Taufel gave the lbw verdict. Bevan scored 11 from 85 deliveries, a pace even slower than that of Rahul Dravid earlier in the match.
Venkatesh Prasad struck twice in the same over. Shane Lee glided the first ball of the over through slips, then edged the next delivery to Ganguly at first slip, his cameo being worth a total of six. Michael Clarke got off the mark first ball with a two, but three deliveries later was well beaten for pace, his off stump sent flying. NSW were now 117 for five.
Soon afterwards, Srinath had a very confident lbw appeal to Greg Hayne turned down. As he showed visible disappointment at the decision, Taufel had a quiet word with him as he delivered the bowler's cap. In the following over Darrel Hair and Saurav Ganguly had a brief discussion. Late on Saturday, Hair had warned Ganguly about the Indian players showing dissent after the viewing of video replays on the big screen.
The presence of Brad Haddin (19) at the crease promised much but he delivered little, the dashing wicketkeeper beaten for pace and bowled by Ajit Agarkar. Corey Richards, suffering a bruised hip from the first innings, came to the crease with Greg Mail as a runner. Richards was showing obviously restrictions of movement, taking a bouncer on the body from Agarkar at one stage.
On Saturday afternoon Greg Hayne had been scoring at almost a run-a-ball. On Sunday he could have been more different. Grafting his way closer to what would have been his maiden first-class century, he was on 89, he got an edge to a Kumble googly which was taken by Dravid behind the wicket. Tea was taken with the dismissal, Hayne having scored 53 runs in four hours today.
The end came swiftly in the final session. The embattled Corey Richards played just one scoring shot, a flick off the pads for four, before edging Kumble to Ganguly at first slip. Brett Lee was struck a painful blow on the thigh by Agarkar which required a visit from the physio before MacGill (0) went for a swoosh against Kumble and was bowled. Three balls later in the over, Don Nash lamely lobbed the ball to Javagal Srinath without scoring and the match was over.
For the second time in the game, Kumble had cleaned up the tail to finish with 4/38 and match figures of 8/88.
India recovered from a poor first day against the only team with a minus score on the Pura Milk Cup points table. As long as the controversies of Saturday evening can be cast aside, their stocks will be high going into Tuesday's festival match against the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra, and then on to the First Test at Adelaide starting Friday.