Rain saves India from Australian assault

Published: Saturday, September 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kuala Lumpur: Weather gods saved India the blushes and their tie against Australia was abandoned due to heavy showers after young left arm seamer Mitchell Johnson produced a fiery spell leaving the Men in Blue reeling at 35 for five in eight overs in the DLF Cup here today.

Chasing a revised target of 170 in 29 overs, Johnson took four for 11 in four overs to leave India with a bleak prospect of victory but rains, which caused India a defeat against West Indies on Thursday, allowed them to share points with the world champions.

Set a target of 245 runs, India started the chase with two of their most experienced batsmen Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar leading the charge.

The Indian opening duo was tested sternly by Glenn McGrath and rookie Mitchell Johnson. Balls whizzed past the edge, batsmen were hit on helmets and on body. Rain provided some respite to the Indians as play was stopped at the end of five overs with the scoreboard reading India 16 for no loss.

The players came back after a stoppage of almost two hours with the target now revised to 170 to win in 29 overs.

In a bid to score quickly with the clouds looming large, it were wickets that started raining. First to go was skipper Rahul Dravid who tried to hit Johnson over covers but couldn't get beyond the waiting hands of Michael Clark. Irfan Pathan, who had a miserable day with ball, failed with the bat too. He completely misread a Johnson delivery and was castled.

What happened next was a bizarre mix-up that resulted in Virender Sehwag (8) going back to the pavilion. Sehwag had looked good, hitting his trademark 'upper cut' six over third-man off Clarke. He pushed one delivery to sweeper cover and was attempting a third run when Sachin turned back half way leaving both the batsmen at same end.

The onus was now on in-form Sachin Tendulkar to lead the Indian fight-back. But the master batsmen failed under pressure this time as his intended expansive cover drive off Johnson snicked to beaming wicketkeeper Haddin.

But Johnson was not to stop here. A beautiful leg cutter got the edge of Yuvraj Singh's bat and India were left tottering at 35 for five.

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