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Rediff.com  » Sports » Australia bounce back with easy victory

Australia bounce back with easy victory

Last updated on: November 02, 2009 23:17 IST
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- Scorecard: India vs Australia, 4th ODI

Despite missing several key players to injuries, and hurt after two successive defeats, World champions Australia bounced back in style to beat India by 24 runs in the fourth One-Day International at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium, in Mohali, on Monday.

Sent into bat, Australia lost the plot in the final few overs and were dismissed for 250 in 49.2 overs. But they staged a strong comeback with the ball to bowl out the hosts for 226 in 46.4 and level the seven-match series 2-2.

Interestingly, before this encounter, teams batting first won nine day-night encounters at this venue, while teams batting second scored just five wins under lights.

India's batsmen squandered the opportunity to make the most of a good batting wicket, none of them making it past the 50-run mark.

Sachin Tendulkar was the top-scorer with a composed 40 from 68 deliveries, but he fell short of the 17,000-run milestone in ODIs by just seven runs. The team was unable to string together any partnerships, their highest being the 41-run opening stand between Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.

In the absence of pace spearhead Brett Lee and all-rounder James Hopes, young left-arm pacer Doug Bollinger rose to the occassion for Australia, claiming three wickets for 38 in nine overs, while Nathan Hauritz took two for 31.

Shane Watson came up with a good all-round performance, claiming three for 29 to follow up on his quick 49 from 52 deliveries with the bat.

Cameron White top-scored with a brisk 62 from 71 deliveries but his dismissal saw Australia lose their way and waste the five overs of Batting Powerplay during which they scored just 27 runs for the loss of four wickets.

Ricky Ponting, with a quick 52 from 59 deliveries, had earlier helped Australia recover after the loss of an early wicket with a 64-run partnership for the second wicket with Watson.

INDIA

Sehwag took no time to get his eye in and crashed Johnson over the cover fielder for a boundary off the first ball of the innings. Tendulkar then bisected the gap between the fielder at point and cover for his first boundary, off Siddle, in the next over.

Sehwag seemed determined to take the attack to the Aussie fast bowlers as he slammed three boundaries in the third over by Johnson. Once again the bowler erred with his line and length and Sehwag needed no second invitation to send the ball crashing to the boundary ropes as India reached 25 after three overs.

The beating of the drums grew louder inside the stadium and Sehwag gave them more reason to cheer as he slammed a wide from Johnson to the point fence for a boundary to race to 22 from 11 deliveries, having hit five boundaries already.

Johnson was having a nightmare with the ball, especially against Sehwag, who smashed him for his sixth boundary through the covers. The left-armer changed his line and came around the wicket but Sehwag's intended cut shot flew over the slips and took India to 40 for no loss after five overs.

While Johnson suffered, giving 34 runs in his three overs that included seven boundaries, at the other end Siddle was bowling an exemplary spell. The right-arm fast bowler was difficult to get away as he conceded just six runs in his opening over before bowling two consecutive maidens to Tendulkar.

Doug Bollinger replaced Johnson and immediately struck with the big wicket of the rampaging Sehwag. The India opener tried to play another lofted shot but this time he hit it straight to Watson at mid-off and was dismissed after a quickfire innings of 30 from 19 deliveries, inclusive of seven boundaries. (40-1, 6.5)

Siddle had managed to keep Tendulkar quiet for 18 deliveries before the master batsman broke the shackles with a neatly-timed boundary through the covers in the eighth over.

Virat Kohli got off the mark with a boundary when he glanced left-armer Bollinger fine through the leg side in the ninth over.

The scoring rate dipped after Sehwag's exit as the boundaries dried up. Just 14 runs came in the last five overs as India reached 54 for one after ten overs.

Tendulkar bagged his fourth boundary when he pulled the hapless Johnson for yet another four through fine leg to move to 22, just 25 runs shy off the 17,000-run mark in ODIs.

Australia took the second Powerplay at the end of the 11th over with India comfortably placed on 57 for one.

Bollinger dished Tendulkar a freebie when he bowled a full toss on the legs that the veteran flicked through midwicket for a boundary in the 13th over. The Australian bowlers were guilty of bowling too straight at Tendulkar and he made them pay yet again when he glanced it fine on the leg side for his sixth boundary.

Kohli, who replaced the injured Gambhir, failed to capitalize on the opportunity and was dismissed caught behind by wicketkeeper Graham Manou off Bollinger for 10. (78-2, 14.3)

After 15 overs, India reached 78 for two, with Tendulkar unbeaten on 34 from 53 deliveries, needing another 13 runs for the 17000-run mark.

India could not do much damage during the five overs of Bowling Powerplay as they managed just 27 runs for the loss of Kohli's wicket.

Just when it looked as if Mohali would witness another Tendulkar landmark the crowd was left disappointed. The veteran batsman was adjudged leg before wicket against Hauritz by Sri Lankan umpire Ashoka de Silva to a delivery that hit him around middle stump and would have surely missed the leg stump, as it turned sharply into the batsman.

Tendulkar, who scored 40 from 68 deliveries, walked back smiling in disbelief while the crowd was stunned into silence. (94-3, 18.5)

With two new batsmen at the crease, India had to start the rebuilding process again as they reached 98 for three after 20 overs.

Dhoni and Yuvraj could not repeat their magical partnership from the previous match, as the latter was dismissed run-out for 12. The left-hander hit one towards Ponting at cover and set off for a quick single, but the Australian captain's direct hit caught him short. (113-4, 23.2)

The onus was now on Dhoni to guide the lower middle order as India reached 117 for four at the halfway stage, needing another 134 runs from the last 25 overs.

Australia tried to squeeze the Indian batsmen with some tight overs before Dhoni broke the shackles with an edged boundary off Watson, the first for India after nearly 15 overs.

In the next over he bagged another boundary when he unleashed a powerful cut shot against Henriques as India reached 142 for four after 30 overs, needing 109 from the remaining 120 deliveries.

Bollinger's day got better when he claimed the big wicket of the in-form Dhoni for 26 (46 deliveries). India's captain tried to glance one on the ribs fine on the leg side but he got a thin edge to wicketkeeper Manou to deal India's chances a big blow. (145-4, 31.2)

Bollinger had single-handedly brought Australia back in the match with three for 20 in six overs, including two maidens.

India's position further worsened when Suresh Raina was undone by Hauritz, bowled for a tame innings of 17 from 30 deliveries. (156-6, 34.2)

Harbhajan Singh took no time to get going, hitting Hauritz for a boundary through the covers off the fourth delivery he faced as India reached 161 for six after 35 overs, needing another 90 from as many deliveries.

Birthday boy Johnson's bad night kept getting worse as Jadeja and Harbhajan hit him for a boundary each in the 36th over to the frustration of his captain Ponting.

Just when Harbhajan and Jadeja were taking India closer to the target with some intelligent batting, the latter perished. Jadeja (7 from 21 deliveries) played one to the covers and tried for a quick single but Harbhajan at the other end didn't move and India sank further. (177-7, 38.4)

With the match firmly slipping from their grasp at 177 for seven after 39 overs, India decided to take the Batting Powerplay, hoping Harbhajan and Praveen Kumar may play some big shots.

The struggling Johnson was called on to bowl in the Powerplay overs and Harbhajan immediately went after him, pulling him over midwicket for a huge six. The off-spinner seemed high on confidence as he, after a few deliveries, walked down the wicket and slammed a powerful straight drive for a boundary in the 41st over.

There was no stopping Harbhajan as he gave himself room and carted a short delivery from Bollinger over the covers for a boundary. In the same over, Kumar cracked a full delivery from the left-arm seamer through the off-side for another four as India reached 204 for seven after 42 overs, needing 47 from 48 deliveries.

Suddenly, Australia were pushed on the backfoot as Harbhajan and Kumar went after the bowlers in the Powerplay, getting 27 runs from the first three overs.

But whatever hopes India had were dashed when Watson deceived Harbhajan with a slow full toss and caught him after an entertaining knock of 31 from 25 deliveries. (204-8, 42.1)

Kumar kept India in the hunt with boundaries off consecutive overs to take the score to 216 for eight after 44 overs.  Australia's top batsmen had yet to figure out how to decode the Batting Powerplay, but the Indian tailenders were having a ball as they hit 39 runs in five overs for the loss of one wicket.

With 35 needed from the last six overs, the game was set for a thrilling finish provided India's tail survived. Watson, Australia's best bowler in the death overs, finished off things when he scalped Kumar, having him caught behind after a useful knock of 16 from 19 deliveries. (217-9, 44.4)

Nehra was the final wicket to fall; he holed out Watson to Hauritz at long-on for 7. India were bowled out for 226 in 46.4 overs and lost by 24 runs. The seven-match series is level at 2-2.

The middle order failed to rise to the occasion; there were no real partnerships in the middle overs. Australia must be relieved that they won despite being dismissed for a decent 250, though they looked good for many more runs at one stage.

The fifth match will be played at Hyderabad on Thursday, November 5.

AUSTRALIA

Indian pacers Praveen Kumar and Nehra got a lot of movement in the early overs to trouble both Watson and Shaun Marsh.

Watson got the first boundary of the innings in the third over when he flicked Kumar through midwicket.

Nehra got the breakthrough when he trapped left-hander Marsh leg before wicket for 5. The opener tried to play a full delivery across the line but missed and was struck right in front of the stumps. (24-1, 7.4)

Ricky Ponting, back at number three, started with a bang, pulling Nehra for a boundary through square leg off the first delivery he faced.

Watson lofted Nehra over the mid-on fielder for his second boundary as Australia reached 37 for one after ten overs.

Ponting came out with a positive approach and immediately took Ishant Sharma, introduced in the 12th over, to the cleaners. Australia's captain carted a full delivery over the midwicket fence for a six and then followed it with a lofted straight drive over the mid-off fielder for a boundary to take Australia past the 50-run mark.

Even Watson got into the act as he flicked Kumar over the midwicket region for a boundary in the next over as Australia started to take charge after a slow start. The bulky opener then hit Ishant through the same region for his fifth boundary in the 14th over of the innings.

Kumar showed great control in the first spell, giving away just 27 runs in his first seven overs, which included 25 dot deliveries. 

The last five overs fetched 36 runs for Australia as they reached 73 for one after 15 overs.

Ishant was once guilty of erring with his length when he dropped short and was promptly despatched by Ponting for a boundary through square leg in the 18th over.

Harbhajan, playing in front of home fans, struck with his first delivery. Watson tried to play the cut shot but ended up edging it and was neatly held by wicketkeeper Dhoni. The Aussie opener scored 49 from 52 deliveries, inclusive of six boundaries. He added 64 runs in 63 deliveries for the second wicket with Ponting to help Australia rally after the early dismissal of Marsh. (88-2, 18.1) 

That wicket checked Australia a bit, as they reached 95 for two after 20 overs.

However, Ponting was desperate not to let Harbhajan settle after that early wicket and slog-swept him for a boundary though midwicket in the 21st over.

The Yuvraj-Harbhajan combination started off well -- they conceded just 30 runs in eight overs between them and also picked a wicket.

Ponting completed his half-century off just 56 deliveries when he flicked Harbhajan through the fine leg region in 27th over.

Just when it seemed that he was settling down for a big innings, he was dismissed run-out while attempting a second run following a direct hit from Jadeja at square, at the striker's end. The Indian team was delighted that they were able to send back the in-form Ponting for a fine innings of 52, which was includive of five boundaries and a six, in his 59-ball knock. (123-3, 26.5)

Michael Hussey was once again assigned the task of building the innings in the middle overs as Australia reached 134 for three after 30 overs.

Cameron White decided he had seen enough of Yuvraj and launched one into the stands at midwicket for a six in the 32nd over.

Hussey also got on with the task of keeping the scoreboard moving. He swept Harbhajan through square leg for his first boundary as Australia reached 157 for three after 33 overs.

Ishant continued to struggle and White hit him for back-to-back boundaries in the 35th over through the cover region and square leg respectively. Those couple of boundaries also brought up the 50-run partnership in 53 deliveries for the fourth wicket between White and Hussey, as Australia reached 178 for three after 35 overs.

Hussey then went after Yuvraj as he stepped down the wicket and flicked the spinner over wide long-on for a six in the 37th over.

But Yuvraj had the last laugh when Hussey hit a short delivery straight to Ishant at midwicket in his next over. Another Australian batsman had to failed to carry on after a good start. Hussey fell for a quick 40 from 41 deliveries, having hit two boundaries and a six. (196-4, 38.1)

Hussey had helped Australia progress at a good rate following Ponting's dismissal, adding 73 runs in 68 deliveries for the fourth wicket with White. 

Though they kept losing wickets at regular intervals, Australia reached a comfortable 201 for 4 after 40 overs with a solid platform for an assault at the end.

The onus now lay on White, and he kept Australia on track for a score of around 300 as he completed his half-century off 63 deliveries in the 41st over.

He went after Harbhajan in his final over when he lofted him over the covers for a boundary and two deliveries later got three runs through that same region to give the innings some momentum.

But Harbhajan ended his spell in style when he claimed the wicket of Moises Henriques for 6. The right-hander found himself out of his crease as he tried a sweep and was stumped by Dhoni. (217-5, 42,4)

Australia reached 221 for five after 44 overs after which Australia decided to take the Batting Powerplay at the start of the 45th over.

Once again the Powerplay didn't start well for Australia as they ended up losing the key wicket of White. Johnson tapped it back to the bowler but White backed up too far down at the non-striker's end and Nehra, aware of the situation, picked up the ball and threw the stumps down in a flash.

Once again, to Australia's dismay, the batsman had failed to carry on after getting a good start. White was their key batsman for the Powerplay overs but he was dismissed after a good knock of 62 off 71 deliveries, inclusive of three boundaries and a six. (226-6, 44.5)

Australia were dealt another big blow in the Powerplay when Johnson bowled by Nehra. The left-hander tried to give himself room and play Johnson through the off-side but missed the ball completely and was dismissed for 8. (236-7, 46.1)

Wickets kept tumbling and wicketkeeper Graham Manou was run-out by Kumar for 7. Nathan Hauritz hit one back to the bowler but Manou, at the other end, had backed up too far and Kumar dislodged the bails. (241-8, 47.1)

Peer Siddle was the fourth wicket to fall in the space of four overs as he holed out a slower delivery from Nehra to Jadeja at the point region for 1. (247-9, 48.4)

The script went horribly wrong for Australia in the five overs of Powerplay as they lost four wickets for the addition of just 27 runs, without any single hit to the boundary.

Australia folded up for 250 in 49.2 overs when Bollinger was run-out by Yuvraj for a duck. Nathan Hauritz lobbed a simple catch to Yuvraj at cover, who grassed it, but was alert enough to affect a run-out as the batsmen attempted a second run.

Australia certainly messed it up in the final few overs, and the fact that none of their top order batsmen could carry on after getting starts must be hurting.

Nehra was easily India's best bowler with three for 37 in eight overs; he got good support from Kumar (0 for 41), especially in the first few overs and in the death.

Harbhajan proved he is slowly but steadily getting his form back as he finished with decent figures of two for 48 in ten overs.

Once again the part-time bowlers, Jadeja (0 for 27 in seven overs) and Yuvraj (one for 54 in ten overs), did remarkably well, which helped Dhoni make up for Ishant's poor bowling (42 runs in five overs).

****

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss for the first time in the series and elected to bowl.

Gautam Gambhir, who was hit on the neck by a pull shot from Ricky Ponting in the third ODI, was ruled out the match and replaced by Virat Kohli.

Virender Sehwag, who was also hit on the left ankle by a Peter Siddle delivery in New Delhi, was, however, included in the team after having recovered from his injury.

A fair amount of dew is expected on the outfield in the second half of the match which could affect the bowling team. Maybe, that is why Dhoni had no hesitation in electing to bowl.

Another factor in India's advantage is that curator Daljit Singh believes that the pitch will last the full game and even a score of around 300 can be chased down.

India must be confident of overhauling this modest Australian score on what many believe will stay true for the whole duration of the match.

India won the third ODI by six wickets to take a 2-1 lead in the seven-match series.

Teams:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Ishant Sharma.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Shaun Marsh, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey, Cameron White, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Graham Manou, Peter Siddle, Doug Bollinger.

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