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© Neena Bhandari, Indo Asian News Service

Sydney, March 2 (IANS) India's convincing victory over formidable Australia, topped by a splendid innings of 117 by Sachin Tendulkar, on a perfect autumn Sunday gave fans, including the hundreds of Indians and Indian-Australians at the Sydney Cricket Ground, something to relish for years.

A sea of Indian national flags, banners interspersed by frequent cries of 'Bharat mata ki jai...' to the beat of drums would have made the hosts often wonder if they were playing in India or at home.

"It's brilliant. It's remarkable that despite all the pressure on and off the field, this young team has secured a historic victory for India. It shows there is a huge future for Indian cricket and world cricket," said Australia-India Business Council chairman Neville Roach.

Roach migrated from Mumbai to Australia 47 years ago, but even after all these years, when it comes to cricket, he says, "I support India."

The day-night encounter in this first match of autumn after a summer of discontent was all about splendid feats on the field. Twenty-two-year old district-level cricketer Sankalp Bhatnagar was overwhelmed witnessing Sachin's first ODI century here and India's win from the Members' stand at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

"India needed this win and they achieved it with such finesse. The Sydney crowd is crazy about Sachin and his innings today has given fans much to relish and remember", says Sankalp.

Australian-Indians and some Indian fans that had travelled all the way to Australia for the Commonwealth Bank Triangular One-day Series were ecstatic.

Tendulkar's majestic strokes provided a perfect crescendo to this aggressively contested series. As rain clouds cleared to reveal a perfect day, verbal rivalries gave way to a day of magnificent batting and high quality cricket.

Though the crowd was almost equally divided, when Tendulkar hit his 100 every one in the stands rose to their feet to salute the 'little master' from Mumbai, who toyed with Aussie bowlers and put India one up in this first of the three finals.

Surender Yadav, an architect and keen cricket fan, told IANS: "It makes us feel so proud to be of Indian origin. After all these years, it's a dream come true. I have been here for 12 years, but my loyalties will always be with India in the game of cricket."

© 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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