Riding on spinners, India warm-up with 38-run win over Australia (Lead)

February 13th, 2011 - 11:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag Bangalore, Feb 13 (IANS) India warmed up for the World Cup with an impressive 38-run win over defending champions Australia in a practice game at the packed Chinnaswamy Stadium here Sunday.Indian batsmen disappointed as barring Virender Sehwag’s 56 off 54 balls and Yusuf Pathan’s 32, none of them could get to a big score as the hosts were all out for 214 runs in 44.3 overs. India rested Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan for the game.

It was the spinners who took India to the confidence boosting win with leggie Piyush Chawla staking his claim for a place in the final eleven for the opening game against Bangladesh with a match winning four for 31. Off spinner Harbhajan Singh also picked up three wickets while Ravichandran Aswhin and Yuvraj Singh got a wicket apiece.

Australian openers Shane Watson (33) and Tim Paine (37) raced off to a quick start as 50 came up in the eighth over. But medium pacer Sreesanth, who found a place in the 15 at the expense of an injured Praveen Kumar, broke the partnership by getting rid of Watson.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting (57) , coming out of a finger fracture, batted fluently and struck four fours in his 85-ball knock before being stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Harbhajan.

Chawla, a surprise selection in the squad, then wrecked the middle order and showed why Dhoni had backed the young leg spinner for a place in the final 15. Chawla picked up the crucial wickets of Michael Clarke, Cameron White (4), David Hussey and Callum Ferguson (8) to take India closer to a win.

Chawla was playing his first limited overs game, though not an official ODI, in India and now with his performance is a strong contender to partner Harbhajan in the tournament opener in Dhaka Feb 19.

Harbhajan and Ashwin then wiped up the tail as the defending champions were bundled out in 37.5 overs.

Earlier in the day, Australian pacer Brett Lee grabbed three wickets as India were dismissed in the 45th over after electing to bat.

Sehwag’s half-century that had one six and eight fours was the only highlight of India’s below par batting performance. He departed soon after reaching his half-century, inside-edging off-spinner Jason Krejza’s delivery on to his stumps.

Yusuf Pathan (32), Ravichandran Ashwin (25 not out) and Virat Kohli (21) were the only other batsmen, who could cross the 20-mark.

Australia, however, could have restricted India to a much lesser total had they not conceded 25 wides, out of which 10 came from paceman Mitchell Johnson.

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