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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 March 2008, 11:28 GMT
Tendulkar leads India to victory
CB Triangular Series, Melbourne, 1st final: India 242-4 (45.5 overs) bt Australia 239-8 (50 overs) by six wickets

By David Ornstein

Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar recorded his first ODI century in Australia
A breathtaking century from Sachin Tendulkar led India to a six-wicket win over Australia in the first game of the three-match CB Series finals in Sydney.

After winning the toss and electing to bat the hosts made a dreadful start but Matthew Hayden (82) put them on course for a competitive total of 239.

In reply, opener Tendulkar made 117, his first one-day ton in Australia.

With good support from Rohit Sharma (66), man of the match Tendulkar sealed the win with 25 balls remaining.

It was the one of the 34-year-old's finest innings for some time and while the contribution of 20-year-old Sharma before he was bowled by James Hopes should not be underestimated, the star of the show was undoubtedly Tendulkar.

He worked both sides of the field with stunning effect, hitting 10 fours and rebuffing all Australian attempts to oust him, to record his 42nd one-day international hundred.

If Sachin is there in the middle then you won't have too much of trouble chasing whatever you're chasing

Mahendra Dhoni, India captain

India came into the game having won one and lost two of their group stage games against Australia but they would have taken heart from the manner in which the hosts' batting line-up was dismantled by Sri Lanka in Friday's dead rubber.

And the tourists made a sensational start, taking three wickets in the first six overs.

Skipper Mahendra Dhoni handed the new ball to medium pacer Praveen Kumar ahead of medium-fast Irfan Pathan and, in the third over, Kumar had Adam Gilchrist hook into the hands of Yuvraj Singh at mid-on.

In his next over the same man bowled out-of-sorts Australia captain Ricky Ponting via an inside edge.

And then Ishant Sharma, India's most impressive bowler throughout their tour, got one to cut back beautifully from outside off and clip Michael Clarke's inside edge before being taken by wicket-keeper Dhoni.

Matthew Hayden
Hayden smashed his 35th ODI half-century off 43 balls

But Hayden, who lofted Praveen for four in the opening over to bring up 6,000 ODI runs, later hit Pathan for six fours in the bowler's first two overs to brink up his 34th half-century off 43 balls.

Support for the 36-year-old came from Andrew Symonds (31) but the Indian spinners put their side on top with some highly disciplined bowling.

Harbhajan Singh went for 17 in two overs during the powerplays but he soon took two crucial wickets as Symonds drove him to Kumar at deep mid-wicket and Hayden was caught by Piyush Chawla backward of square.

A worrying-looking finger injury to Ishant Sharma brought Yuvraj into the attack for four overs and he accounted for Hopes, who edged one behind to Dhoni, before Brett Lee drove Pathan to Rohit Sharma.

Mike Hussey looked good for his 45 but his knock proved inconsequential because Tendulkar, made India's task appear comfortable.


He and Robin Uthappa put on a quick 50, although that only featured three boundaries, for the opening wicket before Hussey produced a wonderful catch off Hopes to dismiss Uthappa.

Gautam Gambhir was run out cheaply and Yuvraj's dismal form continued as he was bowled by Brad Hogg.

But, with a display of awesome footwork and intelligent shot selection, Tendulkar kept the run-rate high, leaving it to Dhoni to hit the winning runs with a four through square leg.

Australia must now beat India in Brisbane on Tuesday to keep the best-of-three final alive.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting:
"We were probably 20 or 30 runs short. The wicket held together really well.

"It was another sloppy performance, not only from our batters but I thought our bowlers bowled as badly as they have all series.

"It's just about getting our heads right - a couple of the guys are disappointed with the way they got out."

India captain Mahendra Dhoni:
"We got the wickets, that really put the brakes on the Aussie innings in the middle overs.

"It's always a pleasure to see Sachin bat the way he batted. He was batting well, running well, he carries the youngsters.

"If he is there in the middle then you won't have too much of trouble chasing whatever you're chasing.

"The whole team enjoyed the innings, but it's important to keep in mind too that games are yet to come."

India's Sachin Tendulkar:
"It was a terrific effort by the whole team. Rohit Sharma really batted well, full credit to him.

"He has a terrific head on his shoulders, he's calm and composed, and today I batted with him for the first time for such a long time.

"It was important today that the second half of the game we played well and that's what we did."

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