Scorecard | Action in images | Warner told to emulate Gilchrist | MS Dhoni Suspended
Australia bounced back from their thumping at the hands of Sri Lanka on Friday in style as they hammered India by 110 runs in the seventh match of the Commonwealth Bank Series at the Gabba in Brisbane today to collect yet another bonus point in the tournament. With this win, Australia also avoided a hat-trick of losses in the tournament.
David Warner and Matthew Wade gave Australia their best start of the tournament and justified stand-in captain Ricky Ponting's decision to bat first on a batsman-friendly pitch as the hosts scored 288 for 5 with Michael Hussey and Peter Forrest scoring half-centuries and they then bundled India out for 178 in the 44th over with only skipper MS Dhoni putting up any sort of resistance in a one-sided match. Both teams made one change each with Ben Hilfenhaus (5-33), playing his first one-day international since November 2009 replacing the ill Clint McKay for Australia; while Zaheer Khan replaced R Ashwin in India's playing XI. And, as Virender Sehwag continued to be troubled with a back spasm, Gautam Gambhir avoided being rested for this match under India's much-criticised rotational policy.
Warner and Wade got off to a slow start, but the former got into his groove after a while and hit some well-struck boundaries, as the openers added 70 runs for the first wicket.
Wade (45) should have been out off the second ball of the match, but Rohit Sharma at second slip dived in front of Sachin Tendulkar at first slip with Zaheer being the unlucky bowler. Zaheer and Vinay Kumar, who was warned by the umpires a couple of times for running on the pitch, kept a tight line in the initial overs, and checked the scoring rate, with the first boundary of the match coming only in the fifth over. Australia scored only 31 runs off the first eight overs, but Warner exploded into action hiting two boundaries and a massive six in the ninth over of the match bowled by Zaheer; while Wade was growing in confidence at the other end.
Warner has struggled for runs in the CB Series, and just when it looked he was set for a big score, the dashing southpaw spooned a catch to Tendulkar at midwicket to give Irfan Pathan his first wicket of the match, as he walked back to the pavilion after scoring 43 off 46 balls. Ponting has had a torrid time in the CB Series, and things didn't get any better for him at the Gabba as he was dismissed for his fifth consecutive single digit score - the first such sequence in his illustrious career. Australia's stand-in skipper took 13 balls to get off the mark and his uncomfortable stay in the middle was ended by Zaheer who had him caught by Irfan at deep backward square leg as India conceded only 12 runs in the bowling powwerplay. This latest failure is bound to increase the pressure on Ponting.
Wade was troubled by Zaheer and Vinay, but he got through the tough phase, and took runs off Suresh Raina and Umesh Yadav, before he chipped a return catch to Rohit Sharma in his first over. Dhoni is considered an astute captain in the shorter formats, but three of his decisions - not bowling Ravindra Jadeja, introducing Umesh only in the 23rd over and bowling out Zaheer in the 40th over - are bound to come under criticism, especially as Australia scored 101 runs in the last 10 overs of their innings.
Mike Hussey (59) and the impressive Forrest then got Australia's innings back on track with their 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket as they kept the scoreboard ticking over by rotating the strike and hitting boundaries at regular intervals. The senior Hussey had three reprieves though - one thanks to a comical error by the third umpire and then when Rohit and Umesh failed to hold on to catches. Mike Hussey had just come to the crease when he survived a stumping off Raina's bowling after the third umpire Bruce
Oxenford pressed the wrong button and the batsman was called back by the umpires even while he was trudging off the field to leave Dhoni incensed. Hussey became the 13th Australian to score 5,000 ODI runs during his knock and Forrest scored his second half-century in three matches before both were dismissed by Pathan in the 44th over of the match.
David Hussey, who remained not out on 26 off 20 balls and Dan Christian (30* off 18 balls), then gave a grandstand finish to Australia's innings with their 65-run unbroken partnership for the sixth wicket in only six overs. Christian hit four consecutive boundaries off Vinay (0-60) in the 49th over of the innings to spoil his figures. Irfan took three wickets but also conceded 61 runs, with India's best bowlers being Zaheer and Raina.
India's run chase got off to a horror start as their top-order failed to counter the pace and bounce generated by Lee and Hilfenhaus as they were reduced to 36 for 4 in the 11th over with Hilfenhaus and Brett Lee taking two wickets each. Lee had both Gambhir and Rohit caught behind by Wade with the in-form southpaw being done in by a peach of a delivery and India's No. 4 played a casual shot as he registered another failure in the tournament. There was some drama though when Rohit exchanged words with some of Australia's players before waking back.
Tendulkar, who was forced off from the field at the end of the 25th over after he was struck a painful blow on the left shin while fielding at first slip, also fell in single figures, when he was caught by Xavier Doherty at third man off Hilfenhaus in the fifth over just a delivery after the same fielder had dropped a sitter to give a reprieve to Virat Kohli. Tendulkar had survived a confident appeal for a catch at mid-on off the last delivery of the fourth over, but umpire Steve Davis ruled it had come off the batsman's helmet, and he was proved right. Kohli was the next man to be dismissed when David Hussey took an excellent low catch at slip off Hilfenhaus's bowling; the umpires confirmed the catch was clean with the third umpire, and though the batsman was clearly unhappy with the final decision, he had to go back to the dressing room as it was a well-held catch.
Dhoni and Raina (28) then tried to consolidate India's faltering run chase in the face of some excellent bowling by Australia's bowlers as they added 46 runs for the fourth wicket - their team's best partnership of the match - before the latter chased a wide ball and edged a catch to Wade as Christian took his only wicket of the innings. Jadeja and Irfan tried to support their skipper, but India was always playing catch-up in the run chase. And, when Dhoni became Hilfenhaus's third victim and the seventh Indian wicket to fall with the score at 149 in the 38th over, only the final rites were left. Dhoni continued his good form with the bat in the tournament and hit two boundaries and a massive six in his 84-ball 56, but he has a lot of to worry about with his top order failing time and again.
Hilfenhaus, India's tormentor-in-chief in the Test series, then dismissed Irfan and Zaheer - both caught behind by Wade - to wrap up the match as Australia cantered to an easy win. Lee (3-49) and Starc (1-36) were the other successful bowlers, while Doherty was miserly conceding only 29 runs in his 10 overs.
India will need to put in a vastly improved show when they take on Sri Lanka at the same ground on Tuesday.
Australia humiliate insipid India, claim bonus point
India was bowled out for 178 in the 44th over as they were thumped by 110 runs at the Gabba.By Akshay Iyer | Yahoo! Cricket – Sun 19 Feb, 2012 7:05 PM IST
Scorecard | Action in images | Warner told to emulate Gilchrist | MS Dhoni Suspended
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