Clarke ensures Australia thrash India

Australia defeated India by 9 wickets in the one-off Twenty20 international cricket at the Melbourne cricket ground on Friday.

updated: February 04, 2008 17:36 IST
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Michael Clarke sparked India's batting collapse with a first-over run out and then scored 37 from 36 balls to lead Australia to a nine-wicket victory in Friday's Twenty20 cricket international.

After bowling Twenty20 World Cup champion India out for 74 - the second lowest total in Twenty20 internationals - Australia coasted to 75 for 1 in 11.2 overs with Clarke unbeaten on 37 and Brad Hodge on 10.

Adam Gilchrist scored 25 from 22 balls and shared a 57-run opening stand with Clarke before he was caught in the deep attempting to hit Praveen Kumar out of the ground in the 8th over.

The win was Australia's first over India in the 20-over format after two losses.

"Our execution was exactly how we wanted it and you'll see more and more of that from the Australian Twenty20 team," Clarke said. "We're working toward becoming the world's best Twenty20 side and tonight was a great start, beating the world champions."

Clarke, filling in for injured Ricky Ponting as Australia captain, started India's problems when he ran out Virender Sehwag (0) with a direct hit of the non-striker's end from backward point on the fifth ball.

Nathan Bracken took 3-11, including Irfan Pathan (26) - the only India batsman to post double figures - and Adam Voges dismissed Harbhajan Singh and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth on consecutive balls in the 16th over and returned 2-5.

Clarke said the win boosted Australia ahead of the limited-overs tri-series involving India and Sri Lanka, with Ponting aiming to be back for Sunday's series-opener against India in Brisbane.

"We'll take a lot of momentum and confidence into the one-day series."

Harbhajan was playing his first match since having charges of racial abuse during the test series downgraded by an International Cricket Council appointed appeal judge earlier this week.

Sections of the 84,041 crowd jeered Harbhajan when he went on to bat and later when he was involved in a comical fielding mix-up that resulted in Clarke being dropped early in his innings.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the crowd was boisterous but overall was well behaved.

He said he was "disappointed, not devastated" with the result.

"We lost too many early wickets and in the middle overs we found it too hard to decide whether to go after the bowlers or rotate the strike," he said.

"The guys forgot their roles and responsibilities in the team ... We stepped into each other's shoes and players who should have played their strokes, they were playing some other game."