Spinners bowl India to 38-run win over Aus

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Published: Sunday, February 13, 2011, 21:28 [IST]
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Spinners bowl India to 38-run win

India's spinners pulled off a fantastic performance to take India home by a convincing 38 runs after it looked at one stage like the Aussies would canter to 215. Piyush Chawla stood out with his 4/31, bowling a tight, deceptive line to bamboozle the Aussie middle and latter order, before Harbhajan Singh and R Ashwin finished things off.

After the halfway point in Australia's innings with the visitors on 127/3, leg-spinner Chawla continued to strike. In the 29th over, he had Cameron White caught at mid-on by R Ashwin and in the very next ball had David Hussey stumped for a duck. Australia had slipped to 138/5 in 28.2 overs.

In the very next over, Virat Kohli dropped a tough chance at slip from Callum Ferguson off Ashwin. In the meantime, Ricky Ponting had reached his fifty. But Chawla returned to remove Ferguson for 8, this time Kohli latching onto the catch at slip. Australia were 148/6 in the 31st overs and the match had turned around dramatically.

Then the Aussies lost the key wicket of Ricky Ponting for 57 off 85 balls when Bhajji had him stumped. The visitors slipped to 166/7 in 34.4 overs. With fielders crowding the bat, Johnson biffed Ashwin for a big six.

But Johnson played one big shot too many when he was stumped off Harbhajan for 15 off 19, as Australia slipped to 175/8. A few balls later, Bhajji trapped Krejza in front for a duck and the Aussies were 175/9. Just one run later, Ashwin bowled Brett Lee for 1 and India had won by 38 runs.

The beginning of the innings was a different story. Australia got after the Indian bowling from early on with Shane Watson driving two fours off Ashish Nehra in the first over itself, before Tim Paine edged Seesanth to the third man boundary and drove Nehra for another four. In the 4th over, Streesanth over-pitched and was punished by Paine yet again, prompting a change in the bowling.

But Munaf Patel could do little to stem the run-flow, getting hit by Watson for two consecutive boundaries (one was the result of a Nehra misfield) and then a third four. There was no respite for India at the other end either with Paine stroking Sreesanth through the covers in the 6th over, as Australia climbed to 40/0.

But soon after the visitors crossed 50, Sreesanth struck to remove Watson for 33 off 26 balls. Australia were 51/1 in 7.5 overs. But almost immediately there was counter-attacking from the new batsman. Ricky Ponting greeted off-spinner R Ashwin with two fours in the 9th over.

As the batsman kept milking the bowlers for singles, they had clearly wrested the momentum. Ponting struck a four off Chawla to bring up Australia's 100 in the 18th over.

The spinners then struck when Yuvraj sent back Paine for 37 off 57 and Chawla dismissed Clarke for a duck. But at 125/3 in 25 overs, Australia still seemed on course for victory.

Oneindia Cricket

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