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Australia demolish India to win 16th Test in a row - by Kuldip Lal

BOMBAY, March 1 (AFP) - Steve Waugh's magnificent Australians thrashed India by 10 wickets in the first Test here on Thursday to record their 16th consecutive victory.

The emphatic win with two days to spare gave the tourists a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and brought Australia closer to winning their first series on Indian soil in 31 years.

India, trailing by 173 runs on the first innings, were bundled out for 219 in their second knock 25 minutes after tea on the third day.

Openers Matthew Hayden and Michael Slater knocked off the 47-run target in seven overs before a sell-out crowd of 40,000 at the Wankhede stadium, who jeered the home team for its abject surrender.

With pace spearhead Javagal Srinath having broken a finger on his bowling hand, the Indians face an uphill task when the second Test starts at the Eden Gardens in Calcutta on March 11.

India appeared to be putting up a fight when a 97-run stand for the third wicket between Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar lifted them to 154-2 shortly after lunch.

Australia, however, hit back with four wickets in the space of 20 runs and then demolished the tail quickly to set up the easy win.

Part-time spinner Mark Waugh sparked the collapse with three wickets, including that of Tendulkar for 65. Leg-spinner Shane Warne bowled Dravid round his legs for a painstaking 39.

Mark Waugh shattered Ajit Agarkar's stumps to give the hapless batsman a pair in the match and his seventh successive duck against the Australians.

Tendulkar fell 20 minutes after lunch, a victim of both bad luck and an outstanding catch by Ricky Ponting.

Tendulkar's pull against Mark Waugh bounced off short-leg Justin Langer's helmet to mid-wicket where Ponting ran to his right and dived to pick up the ball inches off the ground.

Ganguly, who mistimed a drive off Shane Warne, started late for a run and was caught out of his ground as Michael Slater threw back to the bowler to break the stumps.

India would have lost another wicket soon after had Australian captain Steve Waugh not spilled a sharp chance at leg-slip off new batsman Venkatsai Laxman.

Laxman responded by cracking three consecutive boundaries off Warne and then flicked Mark Waugh for two runs to negate the lead and ensure Australia batted again.

India were, however, only one run ahead when Laxman edged a cut off Mark Waugh to be caught by wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist.

Dravid, who batted for four hours and 20 minutes to make 39, finally fell to Warne's guile as he attempted a sweep and was bowled round his legs.

Earlier, Dravid and Tendulkar batted out the entire morning session to lift India from their overnight score of 58-2 to 116.

The engrossing session was marred by a heated exchange of words between Slater and Dravid after the third umpire ruled in favour of the batsman when Slater picked up a low ball at mid-wicket.

Television replays proved inconclusive, but Slater indicated to Dravid and the two on-field umpires that he had caught the ball cleanly.

Dravid, then on 22 in a total of 103-2, stood his ground, saying the umpires had the final authority to adjudicate if he was out.

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