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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 February, 2004, 09:21 GMT
Australia humble India
VB Series, Perth: India 203 lost to Australia 204-5 by five wickets

Australia P8 W6 L1 NR1
Pts 37 RR 1.10
India P7 W4 L3 NR0
Pts 23 RR -0.01
Zimbabwe P7 W0 L6 NR1
Pts 6 RR -1.19

A blazing fourth-wicket stand between Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds fired Australia to a five-wicket win.

The pair piled on 122 runs off just 97 balls as the hosts chased down India's 203 all out with 18 overs to spare.

Stand-in skipper Gilchrist made 75 off 65 balls, while Symonds faced 57 balls for his whirlwind 73.

India's modest total - in which Brett Lee took 3-22 - was never going to seriously threaten Australia despite the loss of three early wickets.

Ajit Agarkar struck twice as single-figure scores to Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn and Michael Clarke reduced Australia to 37-3.

And things would have been far worse had Gilchrist not been dropped on the third ball of the innings.

But the left-hander made India pay, racing to 50 off 33 balls with new partner Symonds by his side.

Agarkar (2-55 off eight overs) and Irfan Pathan (2-69 off eight) were subjected to some terrific punishment in an uncompromising hour of batting.

Adam Gilchrist
It would be nice to play India on a few more wickets like that. It's nice to have won more than we've lost against India, but we go into the finals series at nil-all
Adam Gilchrist

Both batsmen clubbed 11 boundaries in their equally damaging knocks, but Symonds' two sixes bettered Gilchrist's one.

Pathan eventually removed both batsmen to catches in the deep, but their job was done despite Australia falling to 165-5 with Gilchrist's dismissal.

Left-handers Simon Katich (18 not out) and debutant Mike Hussey (17 not out) were untroubled in seeing their side home.

Earlier, India captain Sourav Ganguly won the toss and batted first hoping to benefit from the return of star batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.

But Tendulkar fell to Lee for five and Sehwag was unable to stick around much longer before falling victim to Jason Gillespie for 32.

The in-form Yuvraj Singh scored a brilliant 47 off 68 balls to give India some momentum.

However, India lost wickets at regular intervals with VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Ganguly and Rohan Gavaskar all falling very cheaply.

When Yuvraj fell to Symonds (2-37) in the 35th over, India were reeling on 142-8.

They then relied on late resistance from Murali Kartik (20) and Pathan (32 not out) to bolster the score, but ultimately it was nowhere near enough.

Both sides have already qualified for the best-of-three finals, but first of all India must face Zimbabwe at the same ground on Tuesday.

Australia: Adam Gilchrist (captain), Damien Martyn, Simon Katich, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Andy Bichel, Brett Lee, Michael Hussey, Jason Gillespie, Brad Williams.

India: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Venkatsai Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Rohan Gavaskar, Ajit Agarkar, Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan and Laxmipathy Balaji.

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