Sehwag, Dravid lift India to 249 against Aussies

Published: Sunday, October 29, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mohali:Opener Virender Sehwag and skipper Rahul Dravid led the charge as Team India's top batsmen clicked and the hosts posted a challenging 249 for eight in 50 overs against Australia in their crucial Champions Trophy match here this evening.

Dravid won the toss and expectedly chose to bat on a track which was not to hostile to the batsmen, unlike the one on which South Africa and Pakistan played.

But still it was not easy to score on the track which turned out to be a two-paced pitch. In the start, the ball was hard and fast and the bowlers got plenty of help from it. But as it ball became older, it tended to skid and stop.

Sachin Tendulkar was the only notable failure among the top order while Sehwag and Dravid slammed half centuries to keep India in the game.

Sehwag and Tendulkar gave India a sedate start as they put on 46 runs off 9.5 overs for the opening wicket before the little master departed.

Tendulkar, during his 46-minute stay at the crease, never looked comfortable and finally edged a Glenn McGrath delivery and Adam Gilchrist behind the wickets took an easy catch. And in the process, the Aussie wicketkeeper created another landmark of taking 400 catches in his one day international carrier.

Tendulkar made laboured 10 runs with the help of two boundaries while facing 46 balls. This was the seventh time McGrath scalped Tendulkar's wicket.

Sehwag was joined by Dinesh Mongia and the two took the score to 89, adding 43 runs for the second wickets off 9.3 overs before Mongia edged Shane Watson and Mike Hussey took an easy catch in the slip. Mongia contributed 18 runs which came off 30 balls and included three hits to the fence.

Sehwag was lucky to survive the torrid opening spell of Australian pacers and survived a chance when he was on 10 as Michael Clarke dropped him off Brett Lee.

Taking advantage of the chance, the opener managed to shrug off his poor form and got to his first half-century in seven innings.

After hitting boundaries through the off side early, he play plenty of clever dabs and steers and raced to his 24th half century in 160th match. This was his third half century against the Aussies.

Dravid, who came in at the fall of Mongia's wicket, played a solid innings and rotated the strike intelligently. And India in fact looked in a very comfortable position when Mitchell Johnson struck with an excellent delivery, which landed on a good length, and trapped Sehwag leg before.

Sehwag made 65 with the help of nine boundaries as he faced 90 balls in his 136-minute stay at the crease. Dravid and Sehwag were involved in a 37-run partnership for the third wicket.

Mohammad Kaif, playing his first game of the championship, joined Dravid and the Uttar Pradesh Skipper justified his inclusion as he frustrated the Australian bid for another quick breakthrough.

Kaif and Dravid added 60 valuable runs for the fourth wicket in 12 overs and when it looked the Indian skipper was heading for a big score Bret Lee got him out.

Dravid had committed to a stroke to a ball which came late and Clarke took an easy catch. The Indian skipper's 52-run knock was studded with six boundaries and came off 63 balls. At that stage, score was 186 for four in 40.1 overs.

Kaif was next to go being clean bowled by Lee after chipping in 30 runs off 43 balls, hitting two boundaries.

The Indians added 52 runs in last 7.5 overs with Mahendra Singh Dhoini scoring a quickfire 23-ball 28.

Bret Lee, McGrathand Nathan Bracken claimed two wickets each.


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