Rain saves India the blushes

Rain interruptions cause the India-Australia tie to be abandoned. Scorecard

india Updated: Sep 18, 2006 11:16 IST

Since the Indian team returned from the 'jinxed' Sri Lankan capital last month, it had always been at the receivingend of the weather gods.

However, on Saturday, things changed for the better as rain came to India's rescue at the right time, forcing abandonment of the match after Australia had the latter by the proverbial scruff off the neck.

Chasing a modest target of 244 set by the Aussies after a splendid bowling performance, Dravid and Sachin got India off to a low-key start, putting on just 16/0 afterfive overs.

At that stage, Dravid must have felt reasonably confident of hunting down the target. However, rain interrupted play there and Indiawas set a revised target of 170 to be scored in 29 overs at a whopping rate of 6.42 runs per over.

The pressure of the recalculated target was too much to bear and after the restart, a maniacal batting collapse ensued and from 16/0 the side went down to 35/5.

Fortunately, rain came down again, finally drawing curtains on the match at Kinrara Oval. Johnson was impressive in his short spell where he scalpedfour wickets giving away 11 runs.

Both the teams were awarded two points each on account of the washout. The next match will be played out between Australia and West Indies on Monday.

McGrath vs Tendulkar

At the start of the Indian run chase, a tense battle between McGrath and Tendulkar ensued. Sachin was hit on the helmet and foxed twice by McGrath, before the former charged down the track to smash the veteran bowler for four over mid-wicket.

Words were exchanged by the two players, but moments later, rain came pelting down and spoiled the contest. Sachin was later dismissed by Johnson in an anticlimactic style, with the maestrodoling out a straightforward catch to the keeper.

Spin 'n' pace

A controlled mix of spin and pace bowling by Team India derailed Aussie innings, restricting it 244 in the third match of the DLF Cup tri-series in Kuala Lumpur.

After a rollicking partnership early on in the innings by openers Phil Jaques and Shane Watson that threatened to post a mammoth total, the middle order failed to sustain the momentum with the wickets falling at regular intervals.

Watson shines

Shane Watson played the innings of his lifetime, smashing a scintillating 79, replete with 11 fours andone six.

His upbeat half-century, made at more than a run-a-ball set the tone before Michael Clarke bounced onto the stage and picked up the baton.

As the rest of thebatting order struggled to come to terms with the variable bounce on a damp pitch, Clarke, in a fine display of improvisation, played a breezy knock thathalted any possibility of a batting order collapse.

Aussies flounder

However, his effort was just not got good enough to power a big Aussie finish.

Munaf picked upthree wickets, but it was Harbhajan'sexceptional spell of spin bowlingthat really dented the world champions' confidence.

Conceding a miserly 26 runs of his 10 overs, Bhajji picked up the important wickets of Shane Watson and burly Mark Cosgrove in quick succession.

At the start of the innings, Dravid looked to have found the right kind of opening attack with both Munaf Patel and Ajit Agarkar extracting juice from the placid pitch.

The firstfive overs in fact yielded just 17 runs.

Cracking start

However, things worsened as Aussie openers - Phil Jaques and Shane Watson - launched into the bowling with some lusty blows.

Shane Watson, blooded in as opener, was impressive in his strokeplay. His sweetly timed drives sliced the fielding cordon in half, much to the frustration of the quickies. Aussie run making progressed at a rollicking pace, bringing up the hundred runs in just the 18th over.

Shane Watson smashed his fifty but at the other end Aussie run-riot was halted after three crucial wickets - Ponting, Martyn, Jaques - fell in a span of six overs.

Clarke, thereafter held his end up, but could not stop the Indian bowling march. The Aussie innings collapsed at 244 before the end of 50 overs.

Team Australia

P Jaques, M Cosgrove, R Ponting (captain), D Martyn, M Clarke, S Watson, B Haddin (wicket-keeper), B Hogg, M Johnson, S Clark, G McGrath

Team India

R Dravid (captain), S Tendulkar, I Pathan, V Sehwag, MS Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Yuvraj Singh, S Raina, A Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, M Patel, RP Singh

First Published: Sep 16, 2006 12:00 IST