Aussies defeat India by two wickets

Australia have beaten India by two wickets in the seventh one day international of the VB Tri-Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground today.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Australia have beaten India by two wickets in the seventh one day international of the VB Tri-Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground today. In a nail-biting finish, Australia achieved the target of 225 in 33.5 overs with one ball to spare after rain halted play in the 10th over. Yuvraj Singh was awarded the man of the match who scored a career best 139 off 122 balls, with 16 boundaries and two sixers. Pathan strikes Earlier, the Aussies got on to a good start chasing 297 for victory. Aussie opener Simon Katich (2) was the first man out, caught by Ganguly off Pathan. But rain halted play in the 10th over and the target was reduced to 225 in 34 overs. After play resumed, the Aussies took control of the match with Adam Gilchrist spearheading the attack. By the 20th over, the stage was set for a tight finish with the Australians scoring 146 for one with Adam Gilchrist and skipper Ricky Ponting still at the crease. But India's rookie seamer Irfan Pathan struck again in the 21st over, taking two crucial wickets in consecutive deliveries. First to go was Ponting, edging Pathan to be caught neatly by Parthiv Patel. The new man, Damien Martyn was also caught in a similar fashion, out for a duck in the very next ball. Then in the 23rd over, Murali Kartik took the most important wicket – that of Adam Gilchrist (95) – caught and bowled in the last ball of the over. Aussies succumb to Ganguly Andy Symonds looked set for a huge innings, hitting a boundary and a huge sixer. But Symonds, trying to hit Ganguly put the ball into the hands of Agarkar. Then Ganguly struck again in the 30th over, bowling Michael Bevan on 12/. The Indian skipper proved lucky again in the 32nd over when Ian Harvey was ran out. Michael Clarke hit two boundaries of Ganguly's over, but was caught by Badani in the last ball of the over. Elusive victory But victory remained elusive as both the teams played under tremendous pressure towards the end of the match – India trying to restrict the Aussies and the hosts trying to browbeat the Indian fielders. With only two wickets left and a large difference between the balls left and runs required for the Aussies, it clearly seemed like a match India had in hand. In the end, it was Brett Lee who damaged India's hopes of victory, this time with the bat. Lee scored the winning run after hitting a sixer, narrowing down the difference of runs to balls. Yuvraj, Laxman slam Aussies Earlier, India elected to bat first and set the home team a target of 297 for victory. Openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag have been rested for the match owing to injuries. Brett Lee, despite conceding 83 runs for one wicket in his last game, spearheaded the Aussie bowling attack. He struck in his first over sending back Sourav Ganguly for one. Then Gillespie had Parthiv Patel (28) caught by Gilchrist. Gilchrist also snapped up Dravid (12) off an Andy Bichel delivery. Then Yuvraj (139) and Laxman (105 not out) completed a double century partnership and guided India to a respectable total of 296/4. Aussie openers Aussie opener Matthew Hayden has been rested for today's game and Simon Katich opened with Adam Gilchrist. Gilchrist will be the beneficiary of Australia's rotation policy as well. The wicket-keeper opener will sit out Australia's next two games on January 26 and 29. Both those games are against Zimbabwe. Brad Haddin, who has played just one game for Australia, will replace Gilchrist. India Sourav Ganguly (capt), Parthiv Patel (wk), VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Rohan Gavaskar, Hemang Badani, Ajit Agarkar, Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan, L Balaji. Australia Adam Gilchrist (wk), Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting (capt), Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Michael Bevan, Andrew Bichel, Jason Gillespie, Nathan Bracken, Brett Lee.