Valiant India go down fighting at SCG

Published: Sunday, February 24, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Aussie skipper Ponting hoicks one en route to his 133-ball 124 in CB series tie against India at SCGBangalore: Gambhir's gritty knock went in vain as Aussies handed India a narrow 18-run defeat in their last of the CB tri-series league tie at the SCG, Sydney on Sunday.

Gambhir led the fight back after India slumped to 51/4 with a defiant 113 but the 318-run target proved a hard nut to crack in the end. The Delhi southpaw hit nine boundaries and a six in his 119-ball knock.

Uthappa gave India a glimmer of hope in the final overs with a brisk 51 before Lee (5/58) ran thro' the tail.


India, chasing a mammoth target on a batting strip, suffered a early setback against a probing Aussie seamers. Lee started the rot rapping the 'quiet' Tendulkar (2) on the front foot in off-stump line for a plumb LBW. The first change bowler Clark dismissed Sehwag caught behind for 17. Rohit (1) and Yuvraj (5) came and went in whimper to leave India reeling on 51/4 in 11th over.

Gambhir and Dhoni (36) resurrected innings with a 98-run stand for the fifth wicket stand before Lee in his second spell induced the latter to edge thro' to the gloveman Glichrist. Uthappa joined Gambhir in the middle and continued the assault. The Bangalorean amassed his runs thro' innovative shots. He disturbed the rythm of bowlers by walking down the wicket or shuffling around. The duo added a brisk 67 runs in less then nine overs.

Brad the postman Hogg ended Gambhir's majestic innings when Gilly's removed the bails in flash to catch batsman just outside the crease.

The next man in Pathan (22) played a little cameo before he was holed to Bracken at the long-on fence off Hopes. This brought Harbhajan (20) to the crease, who signalled his intentions straight away with three boundaries off four balls in a Lee over.

However Lee sounded the death knell to Indian chances when he accounted for Bhajji and Uthappa in consecutive balls.

Earlier, a classy 124 from captain Ricky Ponting saw Australia post a huge total after winning the toss in perfect conditions.

Ponting was the backbone of the innings featuring in 100-plus-run partnerships with both Matthew Hayden (54 from 62) and Andrew Symonds (59 off 49) as the Australian top order found its stride.

The captain's knock, which included seven boundaries and a six, came to an end in the 49th over when he holed out at long-off to give Shanth Sreesanth (2/58) his second scalp - but the damage was done.


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