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03-04-2008, 10:53 PM #1
Tackling Tendulkar and cooling down Harbhajan plays of the 2nd final
Straight boundaries come easy to Sachin Tendulkar, with drives that look so simple and neat. But it was surprising to see him go for the slog. Stuart Clark pitched it short outside off, the ball was about 132kph, but Tendulkar, instead of pulling it square, swatted it straight over the umpire's head.
Bhajji cools down
After the tirade of hostilities he's faced on this tour, Harbhajan Singh's had enough. While Tendulkar made the Australians sweat in the Brisbane heat, Harbhajan cooled himself down by sitting on an ice box. That must have surely helped him walk sedately to the crease amid the boos at the Gabba, home to Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds.
Australians love bodily contact, and among their favorite sports are Australian rules football and rugby. Michael Clarke might be slim but he made use of his rugby skills to pin down the unstoppable Tendulkar. Gambhir pushed the ball towards mid-on and Clarke tried to stop it in his followthrough. One hurdle: Tendulkar was standing to his left . Clarke ended ramming straight into Tendulkar, who was turning back, and pinned him to the ground. Good 'n you mate, the Aussies might have said; however, it didn't stop Tendulkar from making runs.
What might have been
Ricky Ponting ordered his men into an onfield huddle before the match to outline his plans for the do-or-die encounter. The inspiration might have passed on to his players, but it wasn't grabbed by the captain when Tendulkar fired a square drive on 7. Ponting had placed himself at a catching position in front of point and the ball sped to his right at a comfortable height, but it was going too quickly and didn't stick. An amazing catch would have lifted the team; Ponting's men had to look elsewhere for the spark.
Paying the price
Irfan Pathan was turning out to be ineffective against the Queenslanders Hayden and Symonds, who were steadily repairing the early damage done by Praveen Kumar. As Australia neared the 100-run mark, Pathan offered room and Hayden drove it hard towards cover. The batsmen ran for a tight single. Suresh Raina at short cover tried to intercept but it was Yuvraj who picked the ball at mid-off; he had a aim at the stumps but missed, and the throw beat Dhoni and headed to the boundary.