Mohali: Team India's vision of becoming the No. 1 ODI team in the world received a huge blow when Australia beat them by 24 runs in the fourth ODI at Mohali.
Chasing 251 for victory, Indians were bundled out for 226 in 46.4 overs after Sachin Tendulkar top scored with 40 and Virender Sehwag smashed 30 off 19 balls. The seven match ODI series is now levelled at 2-2.
Harbhajan Singh's late cameo (31 off 25 balls) and Praveen Kumar (16) once again raised hopes of a turnaround, similar to their heroic stand in the first ODI in Vadodara, but Shane Watson (3-29) stopped them short.
Watson finished with figures of 3-29 while left-arm pacer Bollinger took 3/38.
Earlier, put in to bat by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Australia were all out for 250 in 49.2 overs. Skipper Ponting made 52 while Cameron White was the top scorer with 62 runs. Shane Watson (49) and Michael Hussey ( 40) were the other notable scorers in the Australian team.
Ashish Nehra was the pick of the Indian bowlers with his three for 37 from his eight overs while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh got two for 48 from his 10 overs.
India got off to a superb start with Sehwag smacking seven fours off left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson, who turned 28 Monday. India reached 2/93 in the 19nth over, but the visitors, led by Doug Bollinger's superb bowling and captain Ricky Ponting's brilliant fielding, took the next eight wickets for 133 runs to knock over the home side in the 46th over for 226.
Sachin fell seven runs short of completing an unprecedented 17,000 runs in one-dayers when he was adjudged leg before off off-spinner Nathan Hauritz. TV replays however suggested the ball would have missed leg-stump.
Yuvraj Singh (12) was out to a direct throw from Ponting at short cover while Dhoni (26) was caught behind off Bollinger.
The next match of the series will be played in Hyderabad on Thursday.