Tendulkar, Dhoni prop up India to 291-4

Published: Monday, October 8, 2007, 14:19 [IST]
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Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni struck contrasting half-centuries as India posted a challenging 291-4 in the crucial fourth one-day international against Australia here.

The 34-year-old Tendulkar hit 79 off 119 balls, anchoring the Indian innings with valuable partnerships with Sourav Ganguly (41) and Yuvraj Singh (39) after skipper Dhoni elected to bat in the crucial tie.

Tendulkar put on 91 runs for the opening stand with Ganguly and 83 for the third wicket with Yuvraj before being run out in the 40th over.

Dhoni blazed to his unbeaten 50 in just 35 balls with the help of five fours and a six in the must-win game for India, who trail 2-0 in the series. The first game was abandoned due to rain.

Dhoni joined Robin Uthappa (30 not out) to plunder 56 runs in the last five overs, making up for a sedate start provided by the openers.

Tendulkar clearly struggled against the pace of Brett Lee, labouring to four off 29 balls in the first 10 overs which yielded just 34 runs.

Ganguly, returning to the squad after missing the previous two one-dayers due to a hamstring injury, appeared more confident.

But the Australian pacemen failed to control the swing on many occasions, accounting for the 39 extras including 31 wides.

This was Australia's joint second worst show after giving away 40 against Sri Lanka in 2002-03 and 39 against Scotland in 1999.

The variable bounce and pace troubled the batsmen and it was Ganguly who fell prey first.

Ganguly, who made 41 off 59 balls with six fours, attempted a wild slash but ended up nicking it to Gilchrist behind the stumps.

An in-form Yuvraj, promoted up the order, swept Brad Hogg to square leg boundary and also cut him through backward point in the same over to make clear his intentions.

However, his belligerence proved shortlived as he was caught by Ricky Ponting off James Hopes for a 55-ball 39 including five fours.

Dhoni livened up the proceedings, milking 15 runs from the 40th over by Hopes and another 14 from 41st by Johnson in company of Tendulkar.

Earlier, India made three changes, bringing in Ganguly, Rudra Pratap Singh and Murali Kartik in place of Gautam Gambhir, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Rohit Sharma.

Australia made just one change from the side that won the previous game in Hyderabad by 47 runs, bringing in Nathan Bracken for Stuart Clark.

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