For a team which couldn't chase 250 in perfect batting conditions about 72 hours ago, getting 100 more even on a
|Sachin Tendulkar celebrates after scoring a century during the fifth ODI at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad. Sachin became the first batsman ever to score 17,000 runs in One-Day Internationals.|
<b1>The target still looked Himalayan because more than 350 in a winning cause batting second has happened just once in an ODI, three years ago in Johannesburg. With nearly everything favouring an Australian win halfway through the fifth ODI, the cricket god turned his head towards this game. And the blessed one almost proved that wonders aren't restricted to the Wanderers only.
In an unforeseen twist to the script made possible by a sublime batting display that only a genius is capable of, Sachin Tendulkar almost single-handedly undid the brilliant job done by Australia's batsmen.
It was one of the best innings in the history of the 50-over game for the way it was paced, the improvisations and the shots, some of which were beyond description. The judgment shown while running was impeccable and considering the battering the 36-year-old body has taken in close to two decades of international cricket, it was a superhuman effort.
But then, Tendulkar is no ordinary man. He was quiet when Virender Sehwag cut loose, patient when India lost three wickets in the
S Watson c Jadeja b Harbhajan 93
S Marsh c Gambhir b Nehra 112
R Ponting b Praveen 45
C White c Tendulkar b Praveen 57
M Hussey not out 31
Extras (lb 6, w 5, nb 1) 12
Total (4 wickets; 50 overs) 350
Fall of wickets: 1-145, 2-236, 3-70, 4-350
Bowling: Praveen Kumar 9-0-68-2, Ashish Nehra 10-0-79-1, Munaf Patel 9-0-73-0, Ravindra Jadeja 5-0-44-0, Harbhajan Singh 10-0-44-1, Yuvraj Singh 7-0-36-0.
V Sehwag c Bollinger b Hilfenhaus 38
S Tendulkar c Hauritz b McKay 175
G Gambhir c Hilfenhaus b McKay 8
Yuvraj c&b Watson 9
MS Dhoni c Voges b McKay 6
S Raina c Manou b Watson 59
Harbhajan Singh c Manou b Watson 0
R Jadeja run out (White/McKay) 23
Praveen Kumar run out (Hauritz/Manou) 9
A Nehra c Hussey b Bollinger 1
M Patel not out 2
Extras (b 1, lb 5, w 8, nb 3) 17
Total (all out; 49.4 overs) 347
Fall of wickets: 1-66, 2-92, 3-126, 4-162, 5-299, 6-300, 7-332, 8-333, 9-335, 10-347
Bowling: Ben Hilfenhaus 10-0-72-1, Doug Bollinger 10-0-75-1, Clint McKay 10-0-59-3, Shane Watson 8.4-0-47-3, Nathan Hauritz 5-0-43-0, Adam Voges 3-0-19-0, Michael Hussey 3-0-26-0.
Result:India lost by 3 runs | Man-of-the-match:Sachin Tendulkar
It looked as if India had things under control with 46 needed in six overs, five of them constituting the period of batting powerplay. They had four wickets in hand and asking rate wasn't an issue. The anti-climax came in the 48th over when the best ODI innings on Indian soil came to an end, followed by Jadeja being run out.
Australia owed their total to the 145-run opening stand between Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh. Marsh weighed in with a maiden ODI hundred, Watson missed his fifth by seven runs and everybody else contributed which made the difference in the end. Cameron White played a late blinder with effortless heaves over the ropes.
Another reason why Australia won was their supremacy in the powerplay periods. The 20 overs with field restrictions fetched 141 runs for the loss of one wicket. India didn't help their cause by dropping Marsh twice and the ground fielding too was patchy at times.
There was little to suggest that such errors would go unpunished but Tendulkar, of course, was thinking differently. This cerebral factor was missing when it came to others in the team, which made it 3-2 Australia with two to go. Otherwise, it could easily have been Australia 2, India 2 and Tendulkar 1.