Match report: Aus v Ind – 10th ODI
Sydney, Feb 26: India’s hopes of qualifying for the CB series finals received a major setback as they crashed to an 87-run defeat to Australia here at the Sydney Cricket Ground. After Australia put up a score of 252 for nine in 50 overs, the visitors crumbled to 165 all out in just 39.3 overs.
Earlier, Shane Watson came out to captain the side filling in for the injured Michael Clarke; the debutant skipper won the toss and opted to bat first. Australia had a poor start as Praveen Kumar removed both Watson (1) and Peter Forrest before the seventh over had been bowled. India then reduced the hosts to 57 for three in the 14th over when Mike Hussey (10) was run out following a piece of miscommunication with David Warner.
Warner nevertheless kept the Australian scoreboard ticking at a brisk rate with his first half-century of the competition. The Australian opener eventually perished when he tried to sweep Ravindra Jadeja out of the park, but ended up being caught brilliantly by Suresh Raina running back from square leg.
Following Warner’s dismissal on 68, David Hussey survived a close call. Hussey (then on 17) set off for a single after Matthew Wade played the ball to short cover, putting his hand out to prevent Suresh Raina’s throw at keeper Dhoni’s end. The Indians appealed on grounds of the batsman obstructing the field. After much deliberation, the third umpire ruled Hussey not out as the batsman was perceived to have put his hand out not to save his wicket, but to save himself from being hit. That reprieve resulted in a fruitful 94-run stand for the fifth wicket.
India, however, managed to stage a comeback despite the twin half-centuries from Hussey and Wade that took the hosts past the 200-run mark. Umesh Yadav struck twice, first in the 40th over to remove Wade (56) and then in the 43rd over to remove Hussey (56). Virender Sehwag then accounted for Clint McKay (1), Brett Lee (4) and Daniel Christian (24), thereby preventing the Australian lower-order from finishing their innings off on a high.
Chasing 253, India lost Virender Sehwag (5) to a superb return catch off Ben Hilfenhaus’ bowling in the second over. Sachin Tendulkar (14) hit a couple of delicate boundaries, but was run out responding to a quick single from Gautam Gambhir. The Little Master looked disappointed at his dismissal, owing to bowler Brett Lee’s unintentional blocking of his path as the batsman looked to complete the run.
The visitors never recovered from those early setbacks as Gautam Gambhir (23), Virat Kohli (21), Suresh Raina (8), Ravindra Jadeja (8) and MS Dhoni (14) all fell cheaply. Irfan Pathan (22 off 22) struck a couple of big sixes, but with Ben Hilfenhuas, Shane Watson and Xavier Doherty picking up two wickets each, the Australians managed to bowl the visitors out in just 39.3 overs for 165.
India play Sri Lanka in their last league match of the tri-series competition on February 28 at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. To qualify for the finals, India must beat Sri Lanka with a bonus point on the 28th and hope that Sri Lanka lose to Australia on March 2 in the final league encounter of the series. In that case, both Australia and India will qualify for the finals. If, however, India beat Sri Lanka without a bonus point on 28th, then the former will be eliminated irrespective of what happens in the last league match.
Brief scores: Australia 252/9 in 50.0 overs (David Warner 68, Matthew Wade 56, Virender Sehwag 3/43) beat India 165/10 in 49.3 overs (R Ashwin 26, Shane Watson 2/9, Xavier Doherty 2/26) by 87 runs
Man-of-the-match: David Warner for his feisty 66-ball 68 at the top of the Australian innings