Australia hammered 359 against India in the second ODI on Wednesday. While Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur has never seen an ODI score of this proportion, the Aussies have twice embarrassed India with this exact number - winning comprehensively on both occasions. (Live Blog)
The latest and the third time Aussies scored 359 left the hosts in absolute disarray with four of the six bowlers being hit for over seven-an-over. Led by skipper George Bailey's unbeaten 92 - his fourth score in excess of 80 in last five appearances - the tourists had five half-centuries to show for their blitzkrieg effort, in the scorecard. And blitzkrieg is exactly what was launched in the previous two efforts worth 359, as well. (Scorecard)
At the absolute peak of their cricketing surge, the Aussies first scored 359 against India in the final of World Cup 2003. Just four batsmen were needed as the defending champions, powered by Ricky Ponting's 140*, posed a massive challenge for the Sourav Ganguly-led Indians. In reply, only Virender Sehwag managed to slightly mirror the efforts of the opposition with his 81-ball 82. Every other batsmen including Sachin Tendulkar (4 off 5), Ganguly (24 off 25), Mohammad Kaif (0 off 3) and Rahul Dravid (47 off 57) struggled to switch gears, losing by 125 runs - the Aussie confidence replaced only by what some felt was an arrogant celebration.
The same confidence and celebration once again surfaced in the second final of VB Series a year later.
Matthew Hayden had missed out in the World Cup final against India. He more than made up for it as he hit 126 off 122 to give his side a solid platform, one so robust that even Ricky Ponting's wicket on four hardly grazed the innings.
Damien Martyn (67 off 76) and Andrew Symonds (66 off 39) played terrific cameos to leave the likes of Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan and L Balaji sweating. The real pain though was yet to come as the Indian batsmen collapsed like a pack of cards without the slightest semblance of a fight. Pathan at No. 8 was the highest scorer with 30 and the Indian annihilation came to a grinding halt on 151. This despite heroes like VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Sehwag and Tendulkar in the side. (Top-5 hit 50s)
While the Indian team and its fans have since kept Johannesburg and Sydney locked away in the dark lanes of grim cricketing memory, Australia carried out a meticulous heist at Sawai Man Singh on Wednesday, to steal and bring to light, the nightmare worth 359 runs.