Australia beat India, lead series 2-0
Australia badgered India with a second successive win in the seven-match Future Cup series at Hyderabad on Friday. Electing to bat, the tourists put a competitive total of 290 runs before wrapping up the home team for 243 in the third one-dayer.
After the first game was abandoned due to rain, Australia won the second by 84 runs. They now lead the series 2-0. So far, they have followed the same strategy - bat first and pile up a huge total and each time India have failed to chase it.
Yuvraj Singh's remarkable 121 went in vain as the others failed to give him enough support to convert his efforts in the team's victory.
For Australia, Brett Lee and Brad Hogg took three wickets apiece to rip apart the Indian batting lineup.
Lee gave the tourists an early breakthrough by trapping Gautam Gambhir for a meagre score of six. Mitchell Johnson then caught Robin Uthappa leg-before for a duck. Lee returned, an over later, to dismiss former skipper Rahul Dravid for nought. It was a virtually lopsided game as India stood 13 for 3.
Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh led a partial recovery but India were unable to dominate against Australia's assortment of medium-pace and slow bowlers. Brad Hogg broke the 95-run stand by dismissing Sachin for 43 off 71 balls.
Lee claimed his third wicket of the day in the form of skipper MS Dhoni's dismissal. The wicketkeeper-batsman hit 33 off 37 before returning to the pavilion.
All hopes then rested on Yuvraj, who completed a brilliant century but did not find much support from second fiddles.
Young batsman Rohit Sharma, who replaced second off spinner Ramesh Powar, failed to live up to the expectations as he was bundled up for a forgettable score off James Hopes. Next, Hogg trapped Irfan Pathan before catching the ball off his own bowling to dismiss Zaheer Khan.
Harbhajan Singh and S Sreesanth held port for India, trying to delay the improbable, but the world champions of this version of the game had the better off Sreesanth to win the match by 47 runs.
Earlier, Australia narrowly missed the 300-run mark after skipper Ricky Ponting won the toss and chose to bat in overcast conditions. Openers Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist gave the team a good start with their 76-run stand. The latter was, however, bundled up by Irfan Pathan in the 14th over. The pacer changed his line and length to catch Gilchrist off the guard with a slow and fullish delivery.
The infamous 'Indian butterfingers' worked, yet again, in the opponents' favour as Zaheer failed to convert an excellent opportunity into a wicket. He missed the ball while hitting the stumps in an attempt to dismiss Hayden. The batsman, however, succumbed to a poor delivery off Pathan in the 21st over for the score of 60.
Ponting, too, had a near-death experience as he narrowly missed being stumped by his Indian counterpart in the 20th over. Harbhajan's doosra just missed the glory.
Spinners Harbhajan, Sachin and Yuvraj justified skipper Dhoni's words by restricting the opponents from going on a run-scoring spree in the middle overs. But the lull was transitory as Andrew Symonds entered the fray to launch a powerful attack after Sreesanth pouched a catch to dismiss Ponting for 25 off Yuvraj's bowling.
Surprisingly for Australia, who started the match with two boundaries in a row in the maiden over, the first six came as late as in the 39th over and not surprisingly, the shot was a massive one.
In the last six overs Australia lost a flurry of wickets. Zaheer struck in close succession to remove Michael Clarke (59) and Brad Hodge (3). Sreesanth chipped in to remove Symonds and Hopes in the last over of the innings. Symonds hit 89 off 67 balls to be named the Man of the Match later in the day.
Ponting returned to lead the side after missing the first two games due to a hamstring injury suffered at last month's Twenty20 World Cup. Reserve stumper Brad Haddin was dropped despite scoring 69 and 87 not out, with top order batsman Brad Hodge retained despite failing to reach double figures in both previous games.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.
Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Brad Hogg, James Hopes, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson.