Mumbai: Eight years ago he faltered at the biggest stage in cricket, the World Cup summit clash against Australia in Johannesburg, but on Saturday Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan truly exorcised that disastrous spell of bowling with a splendid opening burst against Sri Lanka.
The contrast could not have been starker; the opening over from Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan in the 2003 title contest against Australia and Saturday's first-ever All-Asian World Cup summit clash at the Wankhede Stadium here. Eight years ago in the Bull Ring of the Wanderers' Stadium in South Africa, the nervous Zaheer's first over cost India 15 runs and Australia never looked back from that flying start provided by the left arm paceman.
The first over in 2003 included a spate of no-balls and wides against the great Australian pair of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden and India's rivals rode on that disastrous over and captain Ricky Ponting's pulverising 121-ball knock of 140 to make an imposing 359 for 2. Zaheer ended up with none for 67 in only seven overs.