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India stun Aussies to seal series

CB Triangular Series, Brisbane, 2nd final: India 258-9 (50 overs) bt Australia 249 (49.4 overs) by nine runs
By Jamie Lillywhite

India celebrate
India's young team revelled in their exciting series victory

India completed a memorable nine-run win over world champions Australia to seal the Commonwealth Bank Series 2-0.

Sachin Tendulkar played another sublime innings, with seven fours in 91 as his team made 258-9 after choosing to bat.

Under the lights, Praveen Kumar (4-46) found swing and Adam Gilchrist, in his last game, departed third ball for two.

Matt Hayden and Andrew Symonds put on 89 but both fell in one Harbhajan Singh over, and though James Hopes made 63 he could not muster 13 from the last over.

Irfan Pathan had the responsibility of the final over and his two wickets condemned Australia to a second successive defeat in the final of the tri-nations event, following England's 2-0 win in the competition last year.

India's total should have been more formidable, after Tendulkar and Robin Uthappa gave them an excellent platform with an opening stand of 94 inside 21 overs in Brisbane.

In the first game of the best-of-three finals series Tendulkar orchestrated India's victory with a marvellous unbeaten 117.

But he was denied a 43rd one-day century on Tuesday when he mis-timed one from left-arm spinner Michael Clarke (3-52) to short mid-on in the 40th over.

And his departure saw India's innings stall as they managed only 51 runs in the last 10 overs, losing five wickets in the process.

Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar worked the ball around masterfully again

The crowd had come in anticipation of a blitz from Gilchrist, who was playing his last match before retiring from international cricket.

But the dazzling left-hander, having punched his second delivery off the back foot for two, tried a similar shot next up and feathered a catch to keeper Mahendra Dhoni.

Typically, he did not wait for a decision from the umpire and left the international arena for the final time.

Normal service appeared to have been resumed when Hayden thumped a brutal straight drive past Sree Santh, but in Kumar's next over another key wicket fell.

Ricky Ponting, who had played on via an inside edge into the stumps when playing the pull shot in the first final on Sunday, attempted a similar stroke and spooned a catch low to mid-on.

That made it 8-2 and it might have been worse for Australia.

Michael Clarke survived a ferocious appeal for lbw first ball, and Hayden was dropped on five by Dhoni, who could only deflect the edge off Santh painfully into the shoulder of Tendulkar at slip, causing the "Little Master" to leave the field for treatment.

Adam Gilchrist
Gilchrist departs for the final time after falling third ball for two

But with the final ball of the ninth over Clarke was another to succumb to the pull shot when a delivery from Kumar did not bounce as he thought it would, went under his horizontal bat but still clipped the top of off-stump.

With his two old adversaries, Hayden and Symonds, at the crease, Harbhajan was brought on to bowl the 18th over, hoping for a repeat of Sunday when he dismissed them both in quick succession.

The rate climbed above a run a ball with over half the innings remaining, but Pathan was initially expensive - not helped by four overthrows - and the 100 came up with 14 runs from the 23rd over.

The partnership was already established on 76 when Piyush Chawla was introduced in the 25th over, and a first ball long-hop was swiped many rows back over long-on for six by Symonds.

But the pivotal moment came in the next, when Symonds, who had earlier body checked an on-rushing male streaker, pushed a delivery on off-stump into the covers and thought of a single, only to send Hayden back.

Yuvraj swooped and sent in a perfect throw to the stumps, where Harbhajan took great delight in taking the bails off, sending a fuming Hayden back to the pavilion.

606: DEBATE
DPF

Incredibly he then dislodged Symonds two balls later, skidding one on to trap him on the back pad in front of middle stump.

That left the Indian team in jubilant mood, but as ever, the Aussies refused to capitulate and Mike Hussey recorded a fifty stand in 68 balls with Hopes.

The pair took Australia to within 60 runs of victory with 49 balls remaining before Hussey got an inside edge off Santh low to Dhoni, who took a neat catch despite being plagued by numerous bruised and battered fingers.

Umpire Simon Taufel referred the decision to the third official, and after an agonising delay Hussey was finally given out.

Hopes hit successive boundaries as he kept Australian hopes alive, but Kumar returned to deceive Brett Lee and leave the hosts needing 31 from 20 balls with three wickets remaining.

Santh ousted Mitchell Johnson and although Hopes smashed him for six in the penultimate over he was caught at mid-wicket in the final over off Pathan, slumping to the ground in despair as Australia crashed to a second defeat in a row.


see also
Angry Symonds flattens streaker
04 Mar 08 |  Cricket
Dhoni hails India turning point
04 Mar 08 |  Cricket
Tendulkar leads India to victory
02 Mar 08 |  Cricket
Harbhajan taunt claims dismissed
03 Mar 08 |  Cricket
Commonwealth Bank Series 2008
29 Feb 08 |  Cricket


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