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Tuesday, Oct 09, 2007
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TIMELY TURNAROUND: Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit an unbeaten 35-ball 50 and pulled off two smart stumpings with the gloves, as India defeated Australia by eight runs in the fourth ODI played in Chandigarh on Monday. The victory, India’s first against Australia in over three years, kept the seven-match series alive. Australia leads 2-1.
Chandigarh: Close encounters can hinge on little. In not giving the incisive Brett Lee his full quota of overs, Ricky Ponting blundered tactically. The game witnessed a major momentum shift as the rusty Nathan Bracken was smashed for 20 runs in the last over.
The last five overs fetched the Indians a whopping 56 runs. And Lee, someone with speed and reverse swing, still had three overs remaining. Looking back, irrespective of what transpired in the Australian innings, this proved to be the decisive phase of the contest.
RIDING HIGH: Skipper M.S. Dhoni and R.P. Singh celebrate the fall of Brad Hogg.
India nailed a thriller by eight runs in the fourth Future Cup ODI at the Sector-16 Stadium here on Monday. Australia, however, leads the series 2-1 with three games remaining.
In a tense finish, Australia, pursuing 292 for a victory, required 16 runs off the last six balls with three wickets left.
James Hopes smashed Zaheer Khan straight for a boundary off the first ball, but the Indians allowed the Aussies little leeway subsequently.
Twenty four runs were needed off the final three overs when comeback left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, varying his trajectory, line and pace, conceded just two runs in a terrific 48th over. Left-arm paceman Rudra Pratap Singh was steady in the 49th and India clinched it in the last over.
India has halted Australia’s 14-match streak in the ODIs. The side has also, finally, defeated the Aussies after 11 successive ODIs.
For a change, the Indians won the critical points of the game. R.P. Singh, generating pace without losing precision, disturbed the woodwork as Andrew Symonds over-elaborated a chop shot.
Mixing caution with aggression and rotating the strike with aplomb, Symonds (75, 84b, 3x4, 1x6) was orchestrating the chase splendidly.
Australia was 268 for six at this stage — in 46.5 overs — and lost a wicket off the next ball when Brad Hogg was run-out. The Indians were full of beans at this pretty venue.Fuller length
Both R.P. Singh and Zaheer bowled better, employing a fuller length in the end overs. The fielders backed the bowlers and the pressure was maintained.
R.P. Singh also drew first blood when he had a rampant Adam Gilchrist picked up off a pull.
This was also a match where India got its gameplan right. The side rightly opened with Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly and a solid 91-run platform was laid.
India did not suffer much damage in the middle overs, possessed wickets in hand for an onslaught in the final overs.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s hurricane 35-ball unbeaten 50 and Robin Uthappa’s enterprising 18-ball 30 not out gave India the edge.
Dhoni also kept wickets smartly, although Ponting could have been given the benefit of doubt on a desperately close stumping decision. The Indian skipper was the Man of the Match.
India also picked five specialist bowlers and left-arm spinner Murali Kartik added variety and craft to the attack.
The powerful Matthew Hayden’s imposing 92 (92b, 11x4, 2x6) concluded when the left-hander, not picking a change of pace from Kartik, was held in the deep.
Harbhajan Singh too had his moments, none better than beating and consuming Michael Clarke with flight and dip.Brave decision
Dhoni’s decision to bat was a brave one. The skipper wanted to avoid the pressures of chasing.
There was swing and seam movement for the Aussie pacemen early on and some purchase for the spinners in the afternoon. For most part, the surface and the outfield encouraged stroke-play.
With his speed and movement Lee certainly had the better of the early exchanges with Tendulkar, repeatedly beating the maestro in the corridor.
There were periods when Tendulkar struggled but importantly India did not suffer damage in the first hour.
Ganguly (41) played a couple of brave shots over the infield in a crucial opening stand with Tendulkar (79, 119b, 7x4) in 20 overs and Yuvraj Singh’s promotion to the No. 3 slot made sense since the wicket had lost the early bite.
Tendulkar and Yuvraj increased the tempo and the former accelerated with some paddle shots, steers and drives down the ground before being caught short by a Brett Lee throw from short fine-leg.
Medium-pacer Hopes, taking the pace off the ball and in control of his length and direction, bowled splendidly.
This was a day when the two left-armers, Bracken and Mitchell Johnson, went for runs. Though not expensive, the slower bowlers including Brad Hogg were not able to provide the breakthroughs.
Australia also paid the price for persisting with the out-of-from Brad Hodge ahead of the fluent and innovative Brad Haddin. Breaking up the Lee-Johnson new-ball pairing also hurt the Australians. The Indians were certainly not complaining. The series is alive.SCOREBOARD India: S. Ganguly c Gilchrist b Hopes 41, S. Tendulkar (run out) 79, Yuvraj c Ponting b Hopes 39, M. Dhoni (not out) 50, R. Dravid b Bracken 13, R. Uthappa (not out) 30; Extras (b-1, lb-7, w-31): 39; Total (for four wkts. in 50 overs) 291.
Fall of wickets: 1-91 (Ganguly), 2-174 (Yuvraj), 3-221 (Tendulkar), 4-244 (Dravid).
Australia bowling: Lee 7-1-26-0, Bracken 10-0-78-1, Johnson 8-0-51-0, Hopes 9-0-43-2, Symonds 7-0-39-0, Hogg 9-0-46-0.
Australia: A. Gilchrist c Khan b R.P. Singh 18, M. Hayden c Zaheer b Kartik 92, R. Ponting st Dhoni b Pathan 29, M. Clarke c and b Harbhajan Singh 6, A. Symonds b R.P. Singh 75, B. Hodge st Dhoni b Harbhajan Singh 17, J. Hopes (not out) 23, B. Hogg (run out) 0, B. Lee (not out) 5; Extras (lb-5, w-13): 18; Total (for seven wkts. in 50 overs): 283.
Fall of wickets: 1-37 (Gilchrist), 2-122 (Ponting), 3-132 (Clarke), 4-190 (Hayden), 5-246 (Hodge), 6-268 (Symonds), 7-268 (Hogg).
India bowling: Zaheer 9-0-68-0, R.P. Singh 10-1-66-2, Pathan 10-0-46-1, Ganguly 1-0-7-0, Harbhajan 10-0-43-2, Kartik 10-0-48-1.
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