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Australia ease to 65-run victory in Melbourne

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Published: Sunday, February 5, 2012, 8:26 [IST]
 
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Australia down India by 65 runs

Melbourne, Feb 5: Australia completed an easy 65-run victory via the Duckworth-Lewis method over India in the tri-series opener here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday. India's batting has been disappointing on the tour and it continues to remain so.

[Scorecard: India Vs Australia, Melbourne, Feb 5]

The match, truncated to 32 overs per side due to rain, saw the home team post 216/5 in 32 overs and then kept India to 151 all out in 29.4 overs in front of 29,952 fans.

David Hussey led Australia's batting display with a hurricane half century and he was well assisted by debutant Matthew Wade and brother Michael.

Wade was Man-of-the-match for his 67 runs. Paceman Clink McKay shone with the ball with 4/20 in 4.4 overs.

Speaking after the match, Indian captain MS Dhoni blamed his bowlers for giving too many "loose deliveries" and a bad start to the chase.

"Once they came back after the (rain) break, they went after our bowling. Our loose deliveries were too loose. That was the difference. And we did not get off to a good start in the chase," Dhoni said.

India's chase never looked in good shape right from the beginning when Sachin Tendulkar (2) was sent back by left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc in the second over of the innings. Tendulkar was playing his first 50-over game since the World Cup final in Mumbai last April.

Tendulkar was caught at point by Ricky Ponting as India were 9/1 in the second over.

Soon, Gautam Gambhir (5) followed Tendulkar, again Starc doing the trick with good bounce. Gambhir edged one to wicketkeeper Wade.

Youngsters Virat Kohli (31) and Rohit Sharma (21) started the rebuilding process by staying together for 51 runs but Kohli perished to a good catch by Ponting off right-armer McKay.

McKay took one more by taking Rohit's edge and Wade completed another catch. At this stage India were 65/4 in 11.4 overs.

Suresh Raina (4) succumbed to a pull shot off debutant Dan Christian as the visitors never got a grip on the things. The required run rate kept mounting and they were never able to break free with very few boundaries.

Dhoni (29) and Ravindra Jadeja (19) were there in the middle for a short duration trying to put the run chase on track but in their bid to accelerate they fell. The rest of the tailenders perished, bowled out for 151 in 29.4 overs.

The only time in which India dominated was the first 11 overs of the game before the rain arrived to disrupt their momentum. Australia were kept to 35/2 in 11 overs when play was suspended due to heavy showers.

There were not many bad balls from the inexperienced Australian bowling quartet of McKay, Starc, Ryan Harris and Xavier Doherty. Entering this match, the four bowlers together had only 95 wickets to show. The most experienced of the lot was Harris with 41 wickets in 17 games. However, Australian captain Michael Clarke alone has 52 wickets to his credit in 206 matches.

The key to Australian bowlers' success was their line and length and also extracting good bounce from the MCG strip. India had only 9 boundaries to Australia's 12. While the home batsmen struck five sixes, there was none from India's bats.

India now play against Sri Lanka in Perth on February 8, Wednesday.

Australia Innings Report: David Hussey lifts Australia to 216/5 off 32 overs

An aggressive half century by David Hussey (61, 30 balls, 4x4, 3x6) helped Australia to post an impressive 216/5 in 32 overs against India in the tri-series opener at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday. India need 217 to win according to the Duckworth-Lewis calculation.

The match had to be reduced to 32 overs per side after more than three hours of play was lost due to heavy rain. Apart from David Hussey, his brother Michael (45, 32 balls, 4x4) and debutant Matthew Wade (67, 69 balls, 4x4, 2x6) also made useful contributions in this truncated game.

For India, Vinay Kumar was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets. His first spell read 5-0-8-2 before rain cut short his excellent rhythm. He finished with figures of 3/21 in seven overs. India, after sending the home team in, had been in fine bowling form giving just 35/2 in 11 overs. Then there was a heavy shower and Australia recovered to post a good total.

After the resumption from rain Australian batsmen scored 181 runs for the loss of three wickets in 21 overs.

The home batsmen targetted offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin as he went for plenty. He went wicketless in five overs with 48 runs.

Upon restart, Wade and Michael kept the scoreboard ticking with plenty of twos. They were quick to realise 50-run partnership for the third wicket. The 50 coming off just 32 runs. After Wade was dismissed by Rahul Sharma, inside edging onto the stumps, Hussey brothers continued the good work.

Michael was a busy player in the middle, scampering for ones and twos and hit only four fours in his 45-run knock. Michael was consumed by Vinay via a short ball which the left-hander failed to keep it down and was caught by Virat Kohli at deep square leg.

David reached to his fifty with a six off Ravindra Jadeja in the final over. His half century coming off just 28 balls. Jadeja went for 19 runs in the last over of the innings. The left-arm spinner's figures reading 2.4-0-41-0.

With the playing conditions revised after rain interruption, only two bowlers were allowed to bowl seven over each. Praveen Kumar and Vinay had completed that. However, Rahul started to bowl his seventh in the 32nd over and had delivered two balls when on-field umpires Nigel Llong of England and Australia's Bruce Oxenford realised that and immediately stopped Rahul from continuing after a chat with Indian skipper MS Dhoni. Jadeja bowled the remaining four balls to finish off the innings.

Australia took 90 balls to touch their first 50 but only 30 and 33 for the next two. The last fifty came off 6.1 overs. David was joined by another debutant Dan Christian and they had an unfinished partnership of 62 for the sixth wicket off 5.5 overs.

Earlier Report

More than three hours of play was lost and the tri-series opener between India and Australia was reduced to 32-over-a-side. According to the revised playing conditions, two bowlers can bowl a maximum of seven overs apiece and three bowlers a maximum of six overs each.

Heavy showers halted India's fine bowling at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here on Sunday. Australia are reduced to 35/2 in 11 overs. Excellent bowling by Vinay Kumar gave India advantage before rain forced the players off the field.

Vinay, who was picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1 million in the IPL 5 auction on Saturday, bowled a superb spell. He ran in hard and consistently bowled at good speeds of above 135kmph. First, he had David Warner bowled for 6 and later sent back Ricky Ponting for 2 caught by Suresh Raina at short extra cover.

Vinay's had fine bowling figures of 5-0-8-2 before rain came down. Praveen Kumar, who opened the bowling, had bowled five good over before conceding 10 runs in his sixth where debutant Matthew Wade hit him for a six and a four in the 11th over. Soon, the rain arrived and stopped play.

Toss Report

Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to field.

India have rested out-of-form Virender Sehwag for the opening game. That is the only change from the Twenty20 XI that won here on Friday. Sachin Tendulkar returns to 50-over cricket for the first time since the World Cup final in Mumbai last April.

Australia suffered a huge blow before the start of the match as veteran paceman Brett Lee was ruled out of the tournament with a broken foot.

The home team handed debuts to Dan Christian and Matthew Wade.

Dhoni, speaking after the toss, said they had rested Sehwag and Sachin is back. That is the only change from the T20 side, he added.

The Indian captain said sides had chased well at MCG. However, Australian skipper Michael Clarke said he wanted to bat first as the wicket looked good. He added it looked drier than he expected and reckons they have to be careful against the spinners as the pitch might turn a bit.

This is the first time India and Australia are meeting in 50-over cricket since the World Cup 2011 quarter-final in Ahmedabad. India had knocked Australia out then despite Ricky Ponting's fine century.

Teams: Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ricky Ponting, Dan Christian, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay.

India: MS Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma.

Umpires: Nigel Llong (England), Bruce Oxenford (Australia)

Third umpire: Paul Reiffel (Australia)

Match Referee: Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe)

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