Australia seal series in clinical fashion

Pontings men outclass India by six wickets

Australia seal series in clinical fashion

Australia's Shane Watson hits a shot during the sixth ODI cricket match against India, in Guwahati on Sunday. APThere was this anticipation of a fierce Indian backlash after their setbacks in Mohali and Hyderabad, but all those images were reduced to worthless shards in just 44 minutes, the time Australia needed to reduce Indians to 27 for five which later transpired to 170 all out after they elected to bat.

Left-arm paceman Doug Bollinger grabbed five wickets, his second in international cricket, to wreck the Indian line-up.

The visitors hunted down the target for a six-wicket win, gaining an unassailable 4-2 lead in the series with a match to go.

The start Indians had to their innings promised a lot. Virender Sehwag smashed the second ball of the opening over from Mitchell Johnson over point, instilling the hopes of a batting firework among the sell-out crowd. How false they proved!

Three balls later, Johnson showed the virtue of pitching the ball full as the left-arm pacer’s inswinger beat Sehwag’s uncertain bat to crash on to the woodwork.

Gambhir departed two balls later, again beaten by Johnson’s swinging ball. After Johnson, Bollinger came in and did the duty of a cannon ball knocking down Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar entered the field with memories of that magical 175 still lingering, but all he could manage was a tame return catch to Bollinger.

Luck did not favour Yuvraj as the left-hander’s attempt to prevent the ball from snaking on to stumps actually ended up in speeding the cherry on its way to the stumps, helping Bollinger complete a remarkable first spell 5-4-6-2.

With Johnson giving return ticket to Suresh Raina, Indian board wore a sorry look after nine overs at 27 for five. Then came a period of sanity as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja added 46 in just over 21 overs for the sixth wicket, and that the ball was stopping a bit after pitching demanded extra caution.

However, a piece of misjudgment from Asoka de Silva ended Dhoni’s stay. The Lankan umpire approved Bollinger’s shout for leg before even when the ball seemed to miss the off-stump. The quick made the start of his second spell memorable, castling Harbhajan Singh soon.

At 75 for seven, the hosts were so near to a total disaster, but Jadeja and Praveen Kumar, both with well-crafted fifties, milked precious 76 runs during their eighth-wicket association. It was a lesson in how to master a tricky pitch, and had a couple of frontline batsmen applied themselves, India would have been in a better position.

Their sub-par performance was amplified as later, the Indian spinners received good amount of assistance from the track, and a total near 230 could have been highly competitive. Even a target like 171 could have put the Aussies under pressure considering the nature of the surface, but Shane Watson’s cameo at the top ensured that the middle-order did not have to struggle much.

The first 15 overs, perhaps, were the best phase to mount a speedy chase and Watson did exactly that, rattling 10 boundaries.

He did not slow down one bit even after the early loss of Shaun Marsh, and in the company of Ricky Ponting added 61 in 14.1 overs before top-edging Harbhajan to Sehwag at slip.

The wily offie soon plucked the wicket of old foe Ponting to reduce the Aussies to 90 for three and the feel of a tight contest loomed. But Mike Hussey and Cameron White milked 53 runs off 95 balls in a methodical fourth-wicket alliance.

With Hussey marshalling the latter part of their innings, Australia effortlessly went past the target to complete a wonderful series victory. What a team!

Score board

INDIA

Sehwag b Johnson    6
(4b, 1x6)
Tendulkar c&b Bollinger    10
(17b, 2x4)
Gambhir b Johnson    0
(2b)
Yuvraj b Bollinger    6
(16b, 1x4)
Dhoni lbw Bollinger    24
(77b, 1x4)
Raina c Hauritz b Johnson    0
(5b)
Jadeja c White b Bollinger    57
(103b, 6x4)
Harbhajan b Bollinger    0
(2b)
Praveen (not out)    54
(51b, 7x4, 1x6)
Nehra b Watson    4
(12b)
Patel b Watson    0
(2b)
Extras (B-1, LB-1, W-4, NB-3)    9
Total (all out, 48 overs)    170
Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Sehwag), 2-7 (Gambhir), 3-23 (Tendulkar), 4-24 (Yuvraj), 5-27 (Raina), 6-75 (Dhoni), 7-75 (Harbhajan), 8-149 (Jadeja), 9-170 (Nehra).
Bowling: Johnson 9-1-39-3 (w-4), Bollinger 10-4-35-5 (nb-3), McKay 10-1-44-0, Hauritz 9-2-19-0, Watson 8-0-27-2, Voges 2-0-4-0.
Runs during: Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 27/5; Power Play 2: 11-15 overs: 9/0; Power Play 3 (batting): 41-45 overs: 34/1.

AUSTRALIA

Watson c Sehwag b Harbhajan    49
(49b, 10x4)
Marsh lbw Patel    6
(14b, 1x4)
Ponting c Raina b Harbhajan    25
(57b, 3x4)
White lbw Raina    25
(48b)
Hussey (not out)    35
(62b, 2x4)
Voges (not out)    23
(21b, 4x4)
Extras (B-6, LB-2, W-1)    9
Total (for 4 wkts, 41.5 overs)    172
Fall of wickets: 1-24 (Marsh), 2-85 (Watson), 3-90 (Ponting), 4-143 (White).
Bowling: Praveen 2-0-10-0, Nehra 3-0-21-0 (w-1), Patel 4-1-13-1, Jadeja 10-1-36-0, Harbhajan 10-1-23-2, Yuvraj 7-1-29-0, Raina 3-0-13-1, Sehwag 2-0-8-0, Tendulkar 0.5-0-11-0
Runs during: Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 41/1; Power Play 2: 11-15 overs: 26/0; Power Play 3 (batting): (not taken).

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