India take thrilling match to claim series
by AFP

Ground:Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane
Scorecard:Australia v India
Player:SR Tendulkar, P Kumar, IK Pathan, NW Bracken, JR Hopes, MJ Clarke
Event:Commonwealth Bank Series 2007/08

DateLine: 4th March 2008


India wrapped up the triangular one-day international cricket competition when they beat Australia by nine runs to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three finals series here Tuesday.


The Indians made 258-9 in their 50 overs then restricted the home side to 249 to claim a thrilling win and take the final ever triangular series to be played in Australia.


Veteran Sachin Tendulkar led the Indian batting with a fine 91 before newcomer Praveen Kumar tore through the Australian top order, claiming Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke with just 32 runs on the board.


Kumar came back at the death to bowl Brett Lee and finish the match with 4-46 from 10 overs to signal his arrival on the international scene.


Australian allrounder James Hopes led a rearguard action, scoring a career-high 63, but he kept losing batting partners and was last man out when caught at mid-off trying to blast 13 runs off the final over.


The Indians made a magnificent start in the field when Gilchrist, in what turned out to be his last innings for Australia, edged a ball from the impressive Kumar to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to be out for just two.


Kumar struck again in his next over when Ponting (1) tried to pull a shorter ball and spooned an easy catch to Yuvraj Singh at mid-on.


Clarke (17) then followed after he lazily tried to pull a straight delivery only to see it crash into the top of off-stump to leave Australia staggering at 32-3.


Andrew Symonds (42) and Matthew Hayden (55) recovered brilliantly and got the Australians back on track until Hayden was run out with the score on 121.


Symonds was making a big impact with his bat, but made an even bigger one with his shoulder when he tackled a streaker who made the mistake of running too close to the burly Queenslander.


The match appeared as good as over when Harbhajan Singh trapped Symonds in front to leave Australia 123-5.


Mike Hussey and Hopes set out on a rescue mission and put on 76 before Hussey feathered a Shanthakumaran Sreesanth delivery to Dhoni with Australia on 199.


Although Hopes got Australia close, the task was always just out of reach and the young Indian side celebrated wildly as their older opponents ran out of deliveries.


After Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat, India were 205-3 at one stage and heading for a score of more than 300.


But when an injury-hampered Tendulkar was dismissed for 91, the scoring rate slowed and Australia's bowlers began to gain control.


Tendulkar was well supported by Yuvraj Singh (38), M.S. Dhoni (36) and Robin Uthappa (30), but the Indians were at least 50 runs short of where they should have been.


They had a let off when Ponting dropped Tendulkar on seven, the Australian skipper spilling a difficult diving chance at point.


The little master made the Australians pay for the miss as he began to settle and increase the scoring rate.


He brought up his 50 from 70 balls when he dabbed a short ball from Stuart Clark to third man, delighting the large number of Indian supporters in the crowd.


Clark broke the opening partnership when he had Uthappa caught by James Hopes at mid-off, but Tendulkar continued his imperious form, dispatching the Australian bowlers to all parts of the large ground with ease.


Tendulkar was finally out with the score on 204 after trying to bunt a ball away for a quick single and being caught by Ponting, 84 runs after the Aussie skipper had spilled the earlier chance.


The Indians kept giving their wickets away to innocuous bowling.


India's hopes of breaking 300 fell away as Gautam Gambhir (15), Rohit Sharma (2) and Irfan Pathan (12) all fell cheaply.


But in the end 258 was just enough to get them home despite Hopes's heroics.

(Article: Copyright © 2008 AFP)


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