Rain ruins intriguing clash at the Gabba

Published: Sunday, February 3, 2008, 17:19 [IST]
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Brisbane: Persistent rain ruined an intriguing first match in the triangular one-day cricket series when the match between Australia and India at the Gabba here Sunday was abandoned.

Australia were 51-3 chasing 141 to win from 26 overs when a heavy shower forced players from the field for the third and final time.

India had earlier posted 194 from 45 overs after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat.

When a further rain delay during Australia's innings reduced that target even further, the two arch-rivals were evenly matched.

Australia got off to a blistering start in their run chase, racing to 29 off the first three overs.

Irfan Pathan's second over went for 18 runs, with James Hopes smashing four boundaries as the left-arm seamer struggled to find a good length.

India struck in the fourth over when Shanthakumaran Sreesanth had Adam Gilchrist caught down the leg side for 14, the Australian wicketkeeper walking after gloving the ball to opposite number Dhoni.

With Gilchrist's wicket came heavy rain, and play was again suspended.

When the players returned the Australian target was lowered to 141 but the pitch also began to show signs of life and batting became extremely difficult.

Ishant Sharma clean bowled Hopes (17) with a ball that jagged back from outside off stump, then in Sreesanth's next over Ricky Ponting was caught by Virender Sehwag at second slip for a duck.

Andrew Symonds (5 not out) and Michael Clarke (2 n.o.) were at the crease when the match was called off.

India had earlier recovered from 102-6 to post their score of 194.

Fast bowler Brett Lee took 5-27 to keep the Indian batsmen in check after Gautam Gambhir and 20-year-old Rohit Sharma had looked to be guiding the visitors to a 250-plus score.

But a middle order collapse which saw India lose four wickets for just 15 runs meant they struggled to reach a competitive total.

After losing openers Sehwag (6) and Sachin Tendulkar (10), Gambhir and Sharma, who were controversially brought into the Indian one-day side in place of Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, then added an entertaining 65 before Gambhir was trapped leg before for 39.

That signalled the start of a collapse as Sharma (29) edged Lee to Gilchrist, Manoj Tiwari (2) was bowled by a Lee yorker and Robin Uthappa (5) was caught in the gully by Michael Clarke off the bowling of Australian debutant Ashley Noffke.

Some late hitting from Dhoni (37), Pathan (21) and Harbhajan Singh (27) enabled India to reach a competitive target.

The next match in the series will be India against Sri Lanka here Tuesday.

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