Indian batting collapses, Australia coast to 50-run win

February 17th, 2008 - 8:02 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)

Adelaide, Feb 17 (IANS) Indian batsmen failed Sunday and let their bowlers down by not being able to chase a modest 204-run target set by Australia, and lost the seventh match of the Commonwealth Bank triangular series by 50 runs at the Adelaide Oval here. Indian batting collapsed like a pack of cards and folded up for 153 runs in 41.2 over against a disciplined Australian attack that was sans Brett Lee.

Indian bowlers once again did a splendid job by restricting Australia to 203 for nine after captain Ricky Ponting elected to bat on a pitch with a tinge of green.

Australia’s top order failed yet again against a sustained four-pronged Indian pace attack, Munaf Patel coming in for Virender Sehwag as a fifth bowler. A gritty 79 by Michael Clark and his 72-run seventh-wicket partnership with Brad Hogg rescued them.

With this win, Australia now lead the table with 17 points followed by India in the second place with eight points. Both the teams have played five matches each and Sri Lanka, who have played four matches so far, are third with six points.

Irfan Pathan continued to torment the Australian batsmen with his carried pace and reverse swing and finished with an impressive four-wicket haul. Ishant Sharma and Munaf bowled with a lot of fire and accuracy and S. Sreesanth was only a touch below par.

Mitchell Johnson rattled the Indians, claiming three for 42. Nathan Bracken, James Hopes and Brad Hogg picked up two wickets each as the Indian top order also caved in with none of them making an effort to drop the anchor. Gautam Gambhir, who opened with Sachin Tendulkar, batted belligerently to score 34 before slashing Johnson to Ponting at backward point.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (37) and out-of-form Yuvraj Singh tried to repair the damage, but the task was too much even for them.

Tendulkar (5) was the first to go, LBW to Bracken. Irfan Pathan (14) was again pushed up the order, but the left-hander couldn’t do much.

Dhoni opted for a runner in Rohit Sharma after he pulled his calf muscle and a poor call by the Indian captain saw his runner short of the crease.

Opting to bat, the Australian lost wickets at regular intervals and failed to put up any decent partnership till Clarke and Brad Hogg (32) got together.

Australia lost half the side with just 73 runs on board by the 24th over. Ishant struck first by removing Adam Gilchrist (15) and then Munaf Patel sent back Ponting (10) who was caught again in the slip area.

Hayden (13), Andrew Symonds (3) and Mike Hussey (5) did not stay long either, leaving Clarke to save the situation.

Clarke, who is tipped to take over from Ponting as next Australian captain, stuck it out with James Hopes (19) and Hogg that helping him to see Australia cross the 200-mark. He was eventually dismissed caught in the deep of Pathan slog sweeping.

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