Wed, Jan 12, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Cricket boosts relief fund with millions

TSUNAMI AID A World XI beat an Asian XI before a sell-out crowd of 70,101 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, raising US$11 million for the victims of the killer tsunami

AGENCIES , MELBOURNE AND CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH

Bangladeshi cricketers celebrate their victory over Zimbabwe on Monday at the M. A. Aziz Stadium in Chittagong. Bangladesh recorded their first-ever Test victory as Enamul Haque helped them seal the win against Zimbabwe by 226 runs.

PHOTO: AFP

World XI captain Ricky Ponting stroked a superb 115 to lead his side to a comprehensive 112-run win over Asia in Monday's charity match for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed announced after the game that US$11 million had been raised on the day for the tsunami appeal.

Man-of-the-match Ponting was in sparkling touch, hitting eight fours and three sixes in a game played before a sell-out crowd of 70,101 at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"All the players owed it to the organizers and the people who were watching it all around the world to make sure it was a really competitive, good game of cricket," Ponting said.

New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns smashed 69 from 47 balls and West Indies captain Brian Lara scored an effortless 52 for the World XI. Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan took three wickets for 59 for Asia.

In reply to the World XI's 344 for eight, Asia scored 232 all out in 39.5 overs.

India batsman Rahul Dravid was unbeaten on 75 for Asia and his compatriot Virender Sehwag hit an aggressive 45 from 39 balls at the top of the order, including five fours and one six.

Spinners Daniel Vettori of New Zealand (3-58) and Australia's Shane Warne (2-27) took five wickets between them for the World XI.

"Being out there on the field was more important [than the result]," Asia captain Saurav Ganguly said.

"Obviously they got 344 runs on the board which took the game away from us but we are very happy with the amount of money being raised and that it was a successful day," he said.

Watched by an estimated global television audience of one billion, the match was the first of a two-game series. A second match will be staged on the Indian subcontinent either next month or March.

Australia's World Cup-winning captain Ponting and Test cricket's world-record holder Lara were two of the big-name players the crowd came to see and the pair batted beautifully, adding 122 for the third wicket.

India paceman Zaheer Khan had struck two early blows for Asia, removing openers Chris Gayle (1) and Adam Gilchrist (24) caught behind by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara.

Lara, who hit three fours, holed out to long off off the bowling of spinner Anil Kumble at 172 for three in the 31st over.

Ponting and the hard-hitting Cairns shared a 91-run stand from 55 balls before the Australian was stumped off Kumble at 263 for four.

A bizarre decision to promote Australia tailender Glenn McGrath to number six failed when the lanky paceman made a first-ball duck.

Muralitharan also removed Cairns and Matthew Hayden (2) -- the Australian opener was batting at eight -- before New Zealanders Stephen Fleming (30) and Daniel Vettori (27 not out) pushed the total over 300.

Sri Lanka's Sangakkara gave a fine individual effort behind the stumps for Asia with three stumpings and two catches.

India batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who could not play because of an elbow injury, made an appearance as a substitute fieldsman to the delight of the crowd, as did World XI coach and former Australia captain Steve Waugh.

Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya (28) and Sehwag put on 59 for the first wicket for Asia before Cairns had Jayasuriya caught at slip in the 10th over. Jayasuriya's mother was badly injured and spent a week in hospital following the tsunami, which left her clinging to a tree to avoid death.

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