Rain ruins India-Australia clash

The tri-series opener between India and Australia was called off on Sunday due to intermittent rain.

updated: February 05, 2008 17:44 IST
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Brett Lee took five wickets but it counted for nothing on Sunday as Australia's opening match of the limited overs tri-series against India was abandoned due to rain at the Gabba.

Australia dismissed India for 194 on the final ball of its rain-reduced 45 overs in the opening match, and Australia stumbled to 51-3 chasing a revised 141 from 26 overs.

The Australians lost their three wickets for six runs in nine balls and looked vulnerable before rain halted play for good.

Lee (5-27) took his seventh one-day five-wicket haul to continue the home side's momentum after Friday night's nine-wicket Twenty20 win at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

''It would have been a great game, we would have had a real close finish,'' Lee said of Sunday's washout.

''It was a no-win situation for everyone. If we lost another wicket or two we would have been on the back foot.''

India was reeling at 2-26 in the seventh over after Sachin Tendulkar (10) trod on his off-stump while playing back to a fast short ball, joining Virender Sehwag as early casualties.

Guatam Gambhir (39) and 20-year-old Rohit Sharma (29) put the visitors back in the game with a freewheeling 65-run stand for the third wicket.

The advantage didn't last long as Mitchell Johnson (1-33), who had Gambhir edge to slips twice in three balls only for Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting drop chances, got Gambhir leg before wicket.

Sharma and Manoj Tiwary went quickly before Ashley Noffke picked up his maiden one-day international wicket in his debut by dismissing Robin Uthappa for 5. At that point, India had lost 4-11 from seven overs in a middle-order collapse.

Rain halted play for almost 90 minutes, giving the visitors some respite at 128-6 from 36 overs.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who believed bowling on the ''sticky wicket'' would be more favorable later in the day-nighter, made 37 and gained good lower-order support after the break from Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh.

Harbhajan hit 27 off 19 balls, including 15 off the penultimate over by Nathan Bracken.

The three-nation series, which also includes Sri Lanka this year, will be replaced next year by a revised format of one-day matches involving Australia.

The next match in the series will be on Tuesday when India meets Sri Lanka at the Gabba, with Australia and Sri Lanka to clash on Friday in Sydney.