Wednesday 17 October 2007 

Australia Lose Out In Incredible Mumbai Finale

Australia193 all out (Ponting 57, Kartik 6-27) after 41.3 overs
India 195 for 8 (Uthappa 47, Johnson 3-46) after 46 overs in Mumbai
India won by two wickets, Australia won the seven-match series 4-2

Robin Uthappa, Zaheer Khan and Murali Kartik scripted an incredible two-wicket win in for India in the seventh one-day international in Mumbai despite the best efforts of Mitchell Johnson, who took three wickets to leave India in trouble early on.

Chasing 194 to win, India slipped to 64 for 6 before Uthappa hit 47, Zaheer Khan an heroic 31 not out, and man of the match Murali Kartik a plucky 21 not out having earlier set India up by taking six wickets for 27 as the Australians failed to make good use of winning the toss and batting first.

Saurav Ganguly and Dinesh Karthik were both caught by Adam Gilchrist behind the stumps for ducks as India were reduced to 8 for 2. Lee bowled Sachin Tendulkar (21) off an inside edge before Bracken had Yuvraj Singh (15) caught by Gilchrist to leave India in disarray.

Things got worse when captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni fell to the same combination, in the process giving Gilchrist his 400th catch in one-day internationals having made five. The clatter of wickets continued when Irfan Pathan (0) edged James Hopes to slip, where Michael Clarke took a smart catch to leave India down, and seemingly out, at 64 for 6.

Johnson, Lee and Bracken bowled quite beautifully, making good use of seam and swing to leave the Indian batsmen floundering. That left Uthappa with no option but to counter attack, smashing Bracken and Hopes for huge sixes to try and get India back in the game. He shared a half-century partnership with Harbhajan Singh (19) to frustrate Australia and slowly increase India's chances of a victory. Uthappa was eventually out for 47, trapped in front by Clarke, and was shortly followed back to the pavilion by Harbhajan, caught by Ricky Ponting off of the returning Johnson.

Zaheer and Kartik then edged their side closer and closer to the target with sensible batting until Zaheer launched Lee over his head to put Australia under pressure. The next over saw Kartik somehow find a gap between Gilchrist and Ponting at slip for another boundary, leaving India ten to win. Kartik then survived a huge appeal for a caught behind, which he would later admit to having hit, and the match was sealed when the ball deflected off of his foot and flew down to the fine leg boundary for four leg byes.

Earlier, the left-arm spinner had engineered an Australian collapse by taking six wickets as India launched an impressive fightback to bowl Australia out for 193.

Australia were looking good at 117 for 2 before they lost seven wickets for 50 runs thanks to an inspired spell of spin bowling by Kartik after Australia had launched into India's seamers.

India made the perfect start when Zaheer trapped Clarke in front with the first ball of the match after Australia won the toss, chose to bat, before Clarke picked up his second golden duck in as many matches at the top of the order.

After that, the Indian openers Zaheer and RP Singh lost their radar, bowling a number of wides and loose deliveries to ease the pressure on Australia. Anything short or wide was pounced upon by Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting, before Gilchrist went after a delivery from Irfan Pathan which he could only steer to Harbhajan Singh at third man. He had made 19 and added 60 with Ponting in under ten overs.

Their next breakthrough came shortly after Ponting had reached his half-century when Kartik had Brad Hodge (16) caught at slip by Karthik and then removed the dangerous Andrew Symonds first ball, caught by Tendulkar.

Ponting, who looked in sublime touch having hit nine fours, was caught chasing a wide one from RP Singh, who had endured a terrible spell early on, conceding eight wides. Kartik, enjoying a resurgence in his international fortunes, then trapped Brad Haddin in front for 19 and had Brad Hogg given out caught at short leg three balls later for a duck. Brett Lee then edged him straight to RP Singh at slip, giving Kartik his second hat-trick ball of the innings. Johnson survived that, but Kartik's day of days continued with the wicket of Hopes, bowled for 22.

He returned exceptional figures of six for 27 from his ten overs, with his second over a double-wicket maiden and his eighth a triple-wicket maiden. Johnson hit a plucky unbeaten 24 at the end before Bracken was caught by Harbhajan to give RP Singh a second wicket and close the Australian innings.

Karthik was in the side in place of the out of form Rahul Dravid and RP Singh replaced Shanthakumaran Sreesanth while the Australians were unchanged from the sixth match, with Matthew Hayden still unable to return.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2007


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