India fall flat against Australia, almost out of tri-series (Roundup)

February 26th, 2012 - 6:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar Sydney, Feb 26 (IANS) India succumbed to a 87-run defeat against Australia in the 10th match of the tri-series here Sunday and stare at exiting from the tournament.

India’s batting came a cropper, folding up for 165 after the bowlers restricted Australia to 252 for nine with major contributions from David Warner (68), Matthew Wade (56) and David Hussey (54).

India, on 10 points from seven games, now need to win their last league match against Sri Lanka Tuesday with a bonus point to qualify for the finals besides hoping Australia beat Sri Lanka March 2. With the emphatic win, Australia qualified for the finals after 19 points from seven games while Sri Lanka are on 15 from six.

Losing wickets at regular intervals during the run-chase has been India’s problem for most part of the series and again plagued them at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

The highlight of the innings was Sachin Tendulkar’s (14) controversial run out, leaving India at 35 for two in seven overs. The master blaster, who was conferred life membership of the SCG before the match, found himself short of the crease after a direct hit from Warner with speedster Brett Lee coming in his way. Lee’s obstructing did not look deliberate but Tendulkar was seen shaking his head in disbelief. A similar appeal on David Hussey coming in the way of the fielder and the stumps was made in the morning but did not find much support from the umpires.

India’s chase began in familiar fashion, Virender Sehwag (5) hitting it straight to fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus (2/50) in the second over. Tendulkar, Virat Kohli (21) could not capitalise on starts while Gautam Gambhir (23), Suresh Raina (8) and Ravindra Jadeja (8) got out playing away from the body.

Dhoni crawled to 14 off 49 balls and was caught plumb in front off Hilfenahus to make it 126 for seven. Ravichandran Ashwin (26) and Ifan Pathan (22) tried their best but the game was lost much before.

Earlier, Warner provided the fireworks at the top of the order before Hussey and Wade shared 94-runs for the fifth wicket to ensure a competitive total. Part-time spinner Sehwag took three wickets for India while medium pacer Praveen Kumar, making a comeback into the eleven, got a couple.

Dhoni lost the toss once again and stand-in Australia captain Shane Watson had no hesitation in batting first even though the pitch was expected to do a bit early on. Michael Clarke was ruled out due to a chronic back injury, making way for the all-rounder to play his first match of the series after recovering from a hamstring strain.

Watson (1) opened with Warner and expectedly got out playing a rusty shot in the third over of the match, becoming Kumar’s first wicket of the tournament.

Peter Forrest (7), centurion in the previous match against Sri Lanka, failed to get going here, playing on a slower delivery off Kumar to make it 26 for 2 inside seven overs.

Warner, meanwhile, played his natural game, hitting his seven boundaries in his 66-ball knock for his maiden fifty of the series. He shared a 50-run stand with Hussey before being caught in deep by Raina, who did the needful after a collision with Pathan that left both fielders lying on the ground. Australia were now 107 for four.

The in-form Hussey was once again impressive, rotating the strike at will while collecting only two boundaries for his fourth fifty in seven games. He along with Wade laid the foundation of a big score but after the latter’s dismissal at 201 for five, three quick wickets slowed down the onslaught.

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