57,169 crowds see India knock over Australians

Read the article of 57,169 crowds see India knock over Australians - Benson & Hedges World Series Cup one-day international tournament of the 14th ODI match played between India and Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne in 31st January 1986.

Perfectly measured performances by their premier batsmen and bowlers enabled India to score an impressive six-wicket victory over Australia in a Benson and Hedges World Series Cup match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

However, they must still overpower New Zealand in the final qualifying match at Launceston Sunday to reach the World Series Cup finals for the first time. With six victories and a further point from an abandoned game, Australia are of course assured of a place in the rich finals which start in Sydney on Wednesday.

Indeed, Australia have only once qualified more convincingly in 1980-81, also against India and New Zealand, when they won seven of their 10 matches. At 1-161 in the 37th over yesterday, it seemed certain that they would match that achievement. But on this occasion the middle-order batsmen failed to capitalise on another magnificent opening stand between David Boon and Geoff Marsh - this time 146 from 192 deliveries.

Rather than despair, India's bowlers regained their poise in the last 15 overs and restricted Australia to a manageable 7-235. Dilip Vengsarkar, India's most experienced limited-over player, and the indefatigable Sunil Gavaskar changed the course of the match with a third-wicket partnership of 102 from 110 balls.

Until they became associated, India had fallen well behind their required rate of 4.72 after the dismissal of Krish Srikkanth and Ashok Malhotra within 10 overs. While Gavaskar gathered most of his runs with nudges and deflections - 72 from 125 balls with three boundaries - Vengsarkar played a more robust innings.

His unbeaten 77 from just 88 deliveries earned him his first Man-of-the-Match award for the series and the plaudits of the often restless crowd of 57,169, a record for a limited-over match between the two countries. He supervised the victory achieved with seven balls remaining - which was inevitable when Indian captain Kapil Dev, a renowned striker of the ball, promoted himself when Gavaskar fell in the 42nd over.

Australian captain Allan Border again demonstrated his versatility when he took over as wicket-keeper after Wayne Phillips damaged the ring finger of his right hand and had to leave the ground for treatment. Last summer he had surgery on the same finger and was forced to withdraw from three Tests against the West Indies. It is not yet known whether he will be fit enough to play in the first final on Wednesday.

For the fourth time in the past five matches, Boon and Marsh provided Australia with a priceless opportunity to amass an imposing total. Almost apologetically thrown together for the second innings of the second Test with India here in December, the openers have now recorded stands of 152, 50, 0, 98 and 146 in consecutive limited-over matches.

But, of course, they first gave notice of what lay ahead by adding 217 in the third Test in Sydney.
However, yesterday, the middle-order did not build so impressively on the skilfully laid foundation.