India hit by attack of Astle-roid
by AFP

Ground:Harare Sports Club, Harare
Scorecard:India v New Zealand
Player:NJ Astle
Event:Videocon Tri-Series 2005/06

DateLine: 6th September 2005


A superb unbeaten 115 by Nathan Astle saw New Zealand cruise to a six wicket victory over India in the triangular one day tournament final here on Tuesday.


India had made 276 all out but failed to capitalise on a bright start which saw Virender Sehwag make 75 and Mohammad Kaif 93 - the Kiwis got home with just under two overs remaining as they made 278-4.


They had got off to the best possible start with an opening stand of 121 between Astle and captain Stephen Fleming.


Sehwag - who also took three wickets - Saurav Ganguly and Kaif scored 199 between them and a total well in excess of 300 looked likely.


They had put on 75 for the first wicket and 80 for the second as the boundaries were frequently found.


But after a succession of failures India's excellent situation crumbled, mainly due to Jacob Oram's four wickets with doubles by Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills.


The scoreboard had shown 155-1 for India after fewer than 25 overs, when only Ganguly had been dismissed. But in the end India struggled.


The flow of boundaries seemed unstoppable early on. But after Rahul Dravid was out for a second ball duck, the tide turned towards the Kiwis.


Yuvraj Singh and Venugopala Rao could not stage any recovery and the slide by the Indians continued right until the end when Kaif was stranded on 93 not out.


Gone were thoughts of 300. Instead they had to settle for 276, perhaps 40 fewer than projected.


Kaif, who scored a wonderful century earlier in the tournament and also a 65, was still there at the end, hitting eight fours.


India won the toss and decided to bat, ignoring the possibility of losing early wickets that have been experienced by both these sides as well as hosts Zimbabwe in the preminary matches.


It was a correct decision.


Sehwag displayed the outstanding batting skills that make him one of the most natural run builders in the world. However just when a century seemed well on the cards, he gave an uncharacteristically soft catch to Lou Vincent at gully off Vettori.


Ganguly also seemed more secure than of late. But he was well caught by Hamish Marshall off Oram.


The scores slowed somewhat when Sehwag and Ganguly departed, especially when Dravid was out after two balls, giving Vettori his second victim in the same over.


Shane Bond grabbed one wicket but he had to leave the field with an injured ankle when bowling the 49th over, though he received the consolation later of being named man of the series.


Astle took the attack to the Indians and scored his 15th career century in one-day internationals, reaching the mark with 12 fours and in 121 balls to secure victory.


"It was a great match, a great win and a great series. The all-round strength of our team was what mattered in the end," said Fleming.


Ganguly said that failure to capitalise on their good start had cost them dearly.


"We got off to a sood start but couldn't sustain it. Virender Sehwag put us back in the game for a while with three wickets but our fielding was not up to scratch


"Now we look forward to the Test series," said Ganguly, referring to the two test series with Zimbabwe.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)