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© Neena Bhandari, Indo Asian News Service

Sydney, Feb 24 (IANS) Thousands of Indian fans, some of whom have travelled all the way to Australia, enjoyed themselves thoroughly as their team clashed with the hosts in the Commonwealth Bank Triangular One-day Series.


As dark clouds covered the twilight Sydney skies, a crowd of 30,157 fans packed the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for the day-night encounter. A sea of Indian national flags, caps and deafening applause with drums, cymbals and Bollywood songs coupled with cries of "Jitega bhai jitega ..." gave the impression as if there were more Indians in the stadium than Australians.

Not surprising, India has become the third largest source of international immigrants and second largest source of international students. As many as 85,000 Indians visited Australia last year.

Among the interesting placards displayed was one that said "Symmonds, you will love Hyderabadi Biryani". It was referring to Symonds being bought by the Hyderabad franchise owners for the Indian Premier beginning in India April 18.

Symonds was bought by Deccan Chronicle newspaper for $1.35 million, making him the most expensive foreign player for the lucrative Twenty20 tournament.

Despite the harbour city hosting football's A- League grand final and an "historic royal rendezvous" with two ocean liners -- the Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Victoria docked in Sydney -- the SCG was packed with fans.

Abhishek Bhatewara, who works for Macquarie Bank in Sydney, is here with a large group of friends and found the atmosphere electric.

"It has been an awesome experience and we are making as much noise as possible. Fingers crossed as Australia has really set a huge target," he said.

Australia posted 317 for seven wickets in 50 overs, with captain Ricky Ponting registering his 26th century.

The large Indian contingent, however, said it would like to see an Indian win.

Australia are already assured of a place in the best-of-three finals to be played next month. India, on the other hand, needed a win to ensure their passage into the finals, leaving behind Sri Lanka.

© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from any content is expressly prohibited without  the permission of the writer and the news agency through which the article is syndicated.

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