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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 November, 2004, 13:35 GMT
Mumbai leaves bitter taste
Justin Langer writes for BBC Sport
By Justin Langer
Australian Test batsman

The pitch in Mumbai before day three of the last Test
The match ran for just over two days, which is a sad indictment of Test cricket

To be perfectly frank, this last Test match in Mumbai won't go down as one of the favourites of my career.

From the time we arrived at the ground a couple of days before the match, the atmosphere was tense.

Upon viewing the pitch, experience suggested we were in for something extraordinary - and something extraordinary was what we got.

I don't think there was a single person who believed the Test would last more than three days.

With all bar 11 overs of the first day washed out the match ended up lasting just over two days, which is a sad indictment of Test cricket.

And while the result went against us it is not necessarily the outcome that leaves us so disappointed and frustrated.

After three brilliant Test series in the last four years - and three outstanding Test matches in this series - it seems a terrible shame to have such titanic struggles reduced to the quality of cricket that we witnessed in Mumbai.

Such a healthy rivalry has built up between India and Australia that it would be fair to say everyone feels a little robbed that this last Test was dampened by circumstances out of our control.

Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn
Putting this Test behind us is made easier by the enormity of our achievement over the last six weeks

The fact we won't meet in the Test arena for some time just heightens the disappointment.

Many of our battles over the last few years have become cherished memories. This Test will be a memory, but for the wrong reasons.

Adding to the action in the middle was the hostility of the Mumbai crowd.

For everything I have enjoyed about India, especially the Indians' love for the game of cricket, I was shocked by the behaviour of sections of this crowd.

Their behaviour seems to go against the grain of the hospitality and happy nature of the Indian people.

As I write this I can hear some cynics saying that what we experienced is what our opposition are sometimes confronted with in Australia.

This may be the case but I never condone any abusive crowd behaviour, whomever or wherever they may be.

I was shocked with some of the songs being led by large sections of the crowd. Sure it may be part of my job putting up with this type of abuse but that doesn't mean it isn't a jolt to the system.

Michael Clarke
Clarke's excellent debut series was heartening for the team

Putting this Test behind us is made easier by the enormity of our achievement over the last six weeks.

We came here focused and committed to winning our first series here in 35 years, and now as we leave for a home summer we are content and proud knowing this has been achieved.

This tour has been one of the best I have been on.

There has been a fantastic balance of the older guard and a group of younger players who have added energy and excitement to the squad.

Having two guys in Michael Clarke and Nathan Hauritz making their Test debuts is an encouraging development for Australian cricket.

Clarke was a shining light throughout the series.

Not only was his batting a treat to watch, but his exceptional six-wicket haul in the last innings was something even he could never have imagined. To say his first series was a fairytale story is something of an understatement.

Everyone in the squad contributed in one way or another, and apart from Damien Martyn's man-of-the-series batting, it would be fair to say that a marvellous team effort helped us secure this very special prize.

From Mumbai - and just hours from flying home.
JL




Links to more Australia stories


 

SEE ALSO
From grass track to dust bowl
02 Nov 04 |  Australia
Camaraderie and confidence
31 Oct 04 |  Australia
A great Test that never was
19 Oct 04 |  Australia
India feeling the pressure
13 Oct 04 |  Australia
Clarke rises to the challenge
11 Oct 04 |  Australia
Australia determined to succeed
28 Sep 04 |  Cricket


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