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India v Australia 4th Test
Nagpur, 6-10 November 2008
606 debate | Mobile scorecards

Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting
Ponting was run out for just eight on the final day of the series

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has admitted his side were outplayed as India clinched a 2-0 series win with victory in the final Test in Nagpur.

The tourists were bowled for 209 on the final day as they slipped to a 172-run loss, condemning them to their first series defeat since the 2005 Ashes.

And Ponting, who was docked 20% of his match fee for a slow over rate, conceded India deserved their win.

"We weren't good enough in this game - it was a fair result," he said.

"We were happy with the way we started the series but from Mohali onwards we were chasing our tails. India thoroughly deserved their 2-0 result."

Match referee Chris Broad ruled Australia were two overs short of their target in the second innings and International Cricket Council rules state each player is fined 5% of their match fee per over not bowled, while the skipper receives a double penalty.

The tourists' pace attack carved through the Indian middle order to leave them at 166-6 at tea on day four, but, concerned by the slow over rate, Ponting was forced to turn to slow bowlers Cameron White, Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke to reach their overs target.

The ICC has the power to ban captains for slow over rates and Ponting ran the risk of receiving a one-Test suspension had he stuck with his pace bowlers, given the slow rate they were managing.

The drastic tactic change worked in India's favour as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh put on a match-winning 108-run seventh-wicket partnership, helping the home side to a 382-run lead.

Despite a powerful performance from Matthew Hayden at the top of the order, the Australian batting line-up wilted as they lost their last six wickets for only 59 runs.

Ponting said: "It would have been an unbelievable run chase if we had got there today.

"I said to the guys this morning that if we played perfect cricket it might be achievable but with the wearing pitch, quality spin bowling and good work from their fast bowlers it made it too tough.


"India's tactics slowed us down on the third day and that was one of the big turning points in the game. Harbhajan and Mahendra (Dhoni) played very well last night and we probably missed an opportunity there.

"Those sort of opportunities don't present themselves very often on the subcontinent and it's important you take them."

India captain Dhoni paid tribute to his fast bowlers Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan after the win.

Sharma took 15 wickets in the series and Zaheer 11.

Dhoni, who claimed that his country's cricketing rivalry with Australia now overshadows that with Pakistan, said: "The fast bowlers did the trick for us in this series.

"They bowled their hearts out, shared the responsibility and bowled consistently well, even with the old ball.

"It was an outstanding effort. We didn't start off well this morning - they were scoring at five an over but they were losing wickets.

"We had motivation, we had plans and we executed those plans well."

see also
Mihir Bose blog
10 Nov 08 |  Cricket
Australia in India 2008
10 Nov 08 |  Cricket

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