Vadodara: The first match of the seven-game ODI series between India and Australia in Vadodara had a thrilling finish on Sunday, as the Indian players failed to hold on their nerve and fell short by four runs.
At one point the match did seem like heading towards Australia"s grip after the Indian star batsmen were unable to score freely on a batsman-friendly pitch, but the late heroics by Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar made the last 10 overs of the second innings added sparkle to the match.
Earlier, opting to bat first Australia scored a respectable score of 292 for eight wickets after a splendid batting performance by captain Ricky Ponting (74 runs), Michael Hussey (73 runs), Tim Paine (50 runs) and Cameron White (51 runs).
India Vs Australia, 1st ODI - Scorecard
With a target of 293 on the board, the Indian team required a good start from its openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, but both the batsmen struggled in front of Australian spearheads Brett Lee and Shane Watson.
Having a disciplined bowling and tight fielding, the Australians were able to contain the openers for cheap and have a check on the middle order batsmen, where except for Gautam Gambhir who scored 68 runs, Virat Kohli (30 runs), M. S. Dhoni (34 runs), Suresh Raina (9runs) and Ravindra Jadeja (5 runs) found it tough to score runs.
Hero Honda Cup (Ind-Aus) Fixture
The plot was out of consideration after reeling at 201-7, however, lower order batsman Harbhajan (49 runs) and Praveen (40 runs not out) added 84 runs from 57 balls for the eighth-wicket, to give the Vadodara spectators something to cheer about.
Harbhajan and Praveen were able to bring the target down to nine runs from the last over from Peter Siddle, but the quick conceded only four runs while clean bowling Harbhajan.
At the end the Team India fell short by four runs, courtesy a tight over by Siddle.
The second ODI of the series will be played at VCA Stadium in Nagpur on Wednesday.