Tuesday 4 March 2008 

India Take CB Series As Kumar And Tendulkar Star

India 258-9 (Tendulkar 91, Bracken 3-29, Clarke 3-52)
Australia 249 (Hopes 63, Hayden 55, Kumar 4-46)

India won by nine runs and won the series 2-0
Report by Aaron Kumar

Praveen Kumar took four for 46 as India defeated Australia by nine runs to seal the CB series in the second final in Brisbane after Sachin Tendulkar had earlier hit 91.

It looked as though India were on course for a far more comfortable victory when Harbhajan Singh removed Matthew Hayden (55) and Andrew Symonds (42) in the same over, but a spirited innings by James Hopes (63) saw the Australian's come very close to the win.

Chasing 259 for victory Australia got off to the worst possible start when Adam Gilchrist was caught by MS Dhoni off the bowling of Kumar for just two to leave Australia two for one in the first over of their innings.

Ricky Ponting replaced Adam Gilchrist, but soon mistimed a pull shot and was caught by Yuvraj Singh for one to give Kumar his second wicket and leave Australia reeling on eight for two in the third over.

Michael Clarke had been in good form throughout the CB series and was just starting to put on a partnership with Hayden that was beginning to frustrate the Indians, when he was bowled, attempting to play a pull shot, by Kumar for 17. Clarke�s wicket left Australia 32 for three after nine overs.

The loss of those three early wickets really put the brakes on the Australian scoring rate, as Hayden and Andrew Symonds both of whom were playing at their home ground tried to rescue Australia�s innings. The duo found it particularly hard to score against Kumar who was getting the ball to swing. Australia were 56 for three after 15 overs.

Hayden brought up his 50 in the 24th over, to follow up his 82 in Sydney. The moment the required run rate reached six an over, the Australians went on the offensive and swiftly brought the required rate down again, as Australia found themselves 115 for three after 25 overs.

The partnership was threatening to take the game away from the Indians before Hayden was brilliantly run out by Yuvraj for 55. That ended a stand of 89 and left Australia 121 for four in the 26th over.

When Symonds followed two balls later, lbw to Harbhajan, Australia were reeling at 123 for five and India were firmly in control.

Michael Hussey had recently played a couple of very useful innings and once again he and Hopes joined forces and attempted to get Australia back into the match.

Australia desperately needed this partnership to continue to have any chance of chasing down the 259 runs that they required for victory.

Hussey appeared to be getting Australia back into the game before he was caught by Dhoni off the bowling of Sreesanth for 44 from just 42 balls. Hussey�s wicket meant that Australia were 199 for six after 42 overs and on the back foot.

Hopes started to take the attack to the Indians after Hussey got out, with a series of boundaries. Australia found themselves 223 for six, needing 36 runs to win the game for the last five overs. The game was now very much in the balance.

Hopes brought up his first ODI half-century in the 46th over as the Australians continued to push for victory.

Praveen Kumar then picked up his fourth wicket when he bowled Brett Lee for seven in the 47th over to leave Australia 228 for seven.

When Sreesanth had Mitchell Johnson caught behind for eight, Australia were 238 for eight in the 49th over and the game appeared all but over

However, Hopes hit a big six off Sreesanth a few balls later, which meant that Australia needed 13 to win the match from the last over, with Hopes on strike.

Despite the valiant innings from Hopes, Australia were bowled out in the final over as India secured victory by nine runs when Hopes chipped Irfan Pathan to Suresh Raina at midwicket.

Earlier, Nathan Bracken claimed three for 29 for and Clarke three for 52 as India were restricted to 258 for nine in their 50 overs.

The tourists seemed on course for a much bigger score when Tendulkar (91) was batting with Yuvraj (38) but Yuvraj's wicket brought about something of a collapse for the Indians.

India won the toss and decided to bat first and the Indian opening batsmen Tendulkar and Robin Uthappa made a solid but sedate start to the innings as India found themselves 36 for no loss after ten overs.

They put on 50 for the first wicket in the first final and they both started to put their foot on the accelerator with Tendulkar playing some astonishing shots. The Little Master pulled Stuart Clark straight down the ground for a boundary to further signal his intent.

Tendulkar reached his 50 in the 19th over to follow up his wonderful century in Sydney and India were 92 without loss after 20 overs.

Uthappa, perhaps anxious to increase the tempo, attempted to smash Clark down the ground but only succeeded in getting a top edge and was caught by Hopes.

Uthappa departed for 30 and his wicket left India 94 for one in the 21st over.

The fall of Uthappa�s wicket brought Gautam Gambhir to the crease. Gambhir has been in great form and once again he began in a confident manner. However, just when his partnership with Tendulkar was threatening to take the game away from the Australian�s he was caught on the mid on boundary by Johnson off the bowling of Clarke for 15 from 16 balls to leave India 121 for two in the 26th over.

Yuvraj and Tendulkar kept the scoreboard moving for India with some well run singles, and by being able to put the bad balls away. India found themselves 144 for two after 30 overs, with a superb platform to push for a score close to the 300 mark.

Yuvraj Singh on his day is one of the most destructive batsman in world cricket and he began his innings with real purpose with a couple of huge sixes off the bowling of Clarke and Andrew Symonds.

Looking to hit a second consecutive six off Symonds Yuvraj hit the ball straight down Hayden�s throat on the midwicket boundary. Yuvraj was out for a rapid 38 from 38 balls and his wicket left India 175 for three after 35 overs.

Indian captain Dhoni replaced Yuvraj at the wicket and hit a couple of lovely boundaries very early in his innings as the tourists continued to build momentum.

Tendulkar had played superbly and his sights were firmly set on a second successive century before he was dismissed as looking to work a single on the on side off the bowling of Clarke, he lofted the ball on the air but was brilliantly caught by Ponting at mid on.

Rohit Sharma did not last long either, caught in the covers by Symonds for two to give Clarke his third wicket and leave India, who had seemed set for a huge score, in a spot of bother, as they found themselves 209 for five in the 42nd over.

Pathan gave his captain some good support as the duo attempted to get India up to a competitive total. Attempting to smash Bracken through midwicket, Pathan totally missed the ball and was bowled for 12, to leave India 237 for six in the 48th over.

Dhoni followed Pathan just a few balls later, when he was caught on the mid on boundary for 36 by Clarke. Dhoni�s wicket meant that India were 240 for seven.

India managed to reach 258 for nine from their 50 overs, perhaps 30 or 40 runs less than where they would have expected to be given that they were 144 for 2 after 30 overs.

It proved to be just enough.

� Cricket World 2008