India edge Aussies at death

Last updated: 8th October 2007   Subscribe to RSS Feed

India edge Aussies at death

Ponting: Controversial dismissal

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India held their nerve with the ball to beat Australia by eight runs in the fourth one-day international in Chandigarh and keep the seven-match series very much alive.

Already 2-0 up after three games, Australia looked set to take an unbeatable position as they chased down India's total of 291-4 in impressive fashion.

Sachin Tendulkar had top-scored for the hosts with a battling 79 while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni chipped in with a typically explosive half-century to post a very competitive total.

However, it did not look to be enough as Australia, first through Matthew Hayden (92) and then Andrew Symonds (75), stayed with the required rate, at one stage leaving themselves the equation of 57 runs from 50 balls with five wickets in hand.

But some inspired bowling from RP Singh in particular saw momentum swing India's way and, needing 16 from Zaheer Khan's final over, Australia could manage only seven as the hosts closed out a fine victory.

Having won the toss, Dhoni opted to bat first and his decision was vindicated as India made a solid, if rather unspectacular, start through veteran openers Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.

Slice of luck

However, the former did enjoy an early slice of luck as he was adjudged not to have made contact with a beauty from Brett Lee that television replays later suggested that he had in fact tickled behind.

By the end of the third powerplay after 15 overs, the hosts had reached 68-0 - the duo's 22nd fifty-plus partnership in ODIs.

Their stand was finally broken at 91 when Ganguly got a nick on a wide one from James Hopes with Adam Gilchrist, who was standing up, holding on to signal his departure for 41.

That brought Yuvraj Singh to the crease and the left-hander showed more glimpses of his superb recent form as he found the boundary rope five times during his knock of 39 before becoming Hopes' second victim when he miscued an easy catch to Ricky Ponting at extra cover.

Tendulkar, although not at his fluent best, fought on and brought up his half century by dispatching an Andrew Symonds' full toss for four.

He eventually perished in rather bizarre circumstances after an opportunistic piece of fielding from Lee.

Attempting a sweep off Brad Hogg, Tendulkar survived a leg before appeal but, having sauntered off down the wicket for a single, was caught some way out of his ground by Lee's sharp throw from short fine leg with bowler and wicket-keeper still busy appealing to the umpire.

Rahul Dravid joined Dhoni in the middle and contributed 13 from 14 balls before being bowled by Nathan Bracken leaving Robin Uthappa and Dhoni to make hay in the closing overs.

Make hay the pair did with Uthappa bludgeoning 30 from 18 deliveries and Dhoni bringing up his 50 in perfect style by launching India's only six off the bowling of Bracken from the final ball of the innings.

Australia's response got off to a brisk start with Adam Gilchrist thumping a four and a six before attempting one big shot too many and being caught on the boundary rope by Zaheer off the bowling of Singh for a quick-fire 18.

Hayden and Ponting picked up the baton and looked very much in control as they kept the scoreboard ticking over with apparent ease.

Controversial dismissal

However, with their blossoming partnership having reached 85, Ponting was dubiously given out stumped off the bowling of Irfan Pathan by the third umpire when replays seemed inconclusive at best.

The Australian skipper certainly appeared unamused by the decision as he trudged off the field in disbelief and the replays he saw once back in the dressing room did little to lighten his mood.

Michael Clarke did not hang around long, chipping back an easy caught and bowled chance to Harbajan Singh for six, but with Andrew Symonds soon stamping his authority on proceedings Australia still appeared in the box seat.

Hayden eventually holed out to Zaheer on the rope as he looked to heave Dinesh Karthik away over the leg side for another boundary and Hodge (17) became another Dhoni stumping victim, this time off the bowling of Singh.

But it was the dismissal of Symonds that really saw the momentum of the match begin to change.

The burly right-hander was bowled by Singh attempting a delicate late cut and Australia began to look ragged once he made his way back to the hutch.

Indeed, just two balls later Brad Hogg was ran out by Singh off his own bowling as he dithered outside his ground having been struck on the pads.

It left Lee and Hopes to score 18 off the final three overs, but Karthik, Singh and then Zaheer ensured they didn't really threaten to pull off that feat, securing new captain Dhoni his first one-day win at the fourth time of asking.

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