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Last Updated: Friday, 16 July, 2004, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
India score easy victory
Asia Cup, Dambulla: India 260-6 (50 overs) beat UAE 144 (35 overs) by 116 runs

Rahul Dravid
Dravid's century was his ninth in a one-day international

Asia Cup favourites India began the competition with a comfortable 116-run win over the United Arab Emirates after a century by Rahul Dravid.

He made 104 off 93 balls at Dambulla as India posted a total of 260-6 in their 50 overs.

Left-arm paceman Irfan Pathan then took three wickets in his first three overs with the new ball.

And the UAE were all for 144 in the 35th over as Sachin Tendulkar removed the tail for figures of 3-21.

Things did not go according to plan for India at the start of match as Virender Sehwag tried to take a single off the third ball, but was sent back by partner Tendulkar and failed to beat the throw.

We were a bit rusty to start with but managed to put up a good score in the end
India captain Sourav Ganguly

Asim Saeed (1-25) and Ali Asad (0-38) both bowled good spells and it was Saeed who claimed the prized scalp of Tendulkar for 18 when he chipped a catch to short mid-wicket.

VVS Laxman (14) was next to go when he gave a return catch to Mohammad Tauqir in the 17th over and at 65-3, there was plenty of work for Dravid and Sourav Ganguly to do to rebuild the innings.

Khuram Khan's failure to hold a slip catch from the first ball Ganguly faced proved costly and the Indian skipper had another let-off on three.

He was never fluent but ground out a half century from 93 balls as he and Dravid added 88 for the fourth wicket.

He eventually holed out at long-on to be replaced by Yuvraj Singh, who came and went for 22.

Mohammad Tauqir
Tauqir saved face for the UAE with some bold shots

Dravid reached a superb 90-ball hundred by advancing down the pitch and striking Rizwan Latif through the covers for the seventh of his eight fours.

And there were only three balls of the innings left when he was bowled by Latif after a stand of 59 in eight overs with Mohammed Kaif, who remained 32 not out.

Pathan and Lakshmipathy Balaji were given the new ball ahead of the more experienced Zaheer Khan after their impressive efforts as India's spearhead in Pakistan earlier this year.

And they again justified Ganguly's confidence by sweeping away the top five in the space of seven overs - Pathan taking 3-28 and Balaji 2-28.

When Khan finally got his hands on the ball, he wasted no time in making an impression as Syed Maqsood was caught by Laxman for five.

It left the UAE on 45-6 but they were saved from total collapse by some bold strokeplay from Tauqir, whose maiden half century included eight fours.

Asghar Ali (14) supported him well as they added 52 for the seventh wicket before falling lbw to Anil Kumble.

Tauqir reached 55 off 73 balls but was stumped by Dravid off Tendulkar, who completed the win two balls later when last man Latif was caught.

India: V Sehwag, S R Tendulkar, S C Ganguly (Capt), R Dravid (Wkt), V V S Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, M Kaif, I K Pathan, A Kumble, L Balaji, Z Khan.

United Arab Emirates: Arshad Ali, Asim Saeed, Fahad Usman, Naeemuddin Aslam, Khuram Khan (Capt), Syed Maqsood, Asghar Ali, Mohammad Tauqeer, Ali Asad, Abdul Rehman (Wkt), Rizwan Latif.


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