Sydney, Feb 26: Australia came up with a dominant performance to crush India by 87 runs and enter the tri-series finals at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here on Sunday.
Also read: Obstructing the field controversy in Sydney
Also read: India can reach finals even if they lose on Sunday
[Scorecard: India vs Australia, Feb 26, Sydney]
It was a familiar tale for India as they faltered in yet another chase during the tri-series. Chasing 253 for a win, they were bowled out for 165 in 39.3 overs. In all seven games so far, India have batted second and have managed to win twice before tie one game against Sri Lanka.
It was a shame that the top score for India was 26 and that too for a non-specialist batsman in Ravichandran Ashwin. The next best was 23, Gautam Gambhir and the extras tally.
Australia's comprehensive win meant that they collected a bonus point in Sydney. They have jumped to the top of the table with 19 points with one more league game to play, against Sri Lanka on Friday. Sri Lanka are on 15 points while India remain at the bottom with 10.
India, however, can make the best-of-three finals, if they win their last league game against Sri Lanka on Tuesday in Hobart with a bonus point and hope Australia defeat Sri Lanka on Friday. But, the way India have been playing right through, chances look slim.
Earlier, Virender Sehwag's troubles with the bat continued as he was dismissed cheaply again. This time he contributed just five runs as India's problems started with this. They were 7/1 in two overs. The Delhi opener was out for a duck in the previous game against Sri Lanka where he was the captain.
In four games, Sehwag has 35 runs at an average of 8.75. It is high time India looked at other options at the top of the order with only a half century in seven games for the first wicket.
The sequence of opening stands for India is, 9, 14, 52, 24, 8, 0 and 7.
Sachin Tendulkar, who too is finding it tough in Australia, followed Sehwag to the pavilion after making 14. However, Tendulkar was unlucky to be run out as paceman Brett Lee was in his way as he attempted a quick run.
Tendulkar has 104 runs from six visits to the crease in the tri-series. He hit two fluent boundaries before his innings was cut short by David Warner's direct hit. Lee stood in Tendulkar's path and the Mumbai batsman had to run around him to reach the crease but was too late and beaten comprehensively by Warner's diving effort at the striker's end.
Virat Kohli, batting at four, was impressive in his stay for 21 off 27 balls. Stand-in captain Shane Watson struck in his first over to get Kohli. It also ended a 44-run association between Kohli and Gautam Gambhir (23).
Gambhir, who was troubled by Lee in the initial stages, came out of those tough phases but could not prolong his innings as he dragged a Clint McKay delivery on to his stumps.
India slumped to 83/4 in 17 overs and further, the score worsened when left-hander Suresh Raina (8) edged Watson to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. Half of Indian side was back in the dressing room for 89 runs in 19.2 overs. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja (8) edged Daniel Christian to slip where Watson made no mistake.
Dhoni, who is one of the best finishers of the ODI games, was wrongly adjudged LBW by New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden for 14 runs (in 49 balls) off Ben Hilfenhaus. Dhoni was quiet at the crease, content with taking singles and looked like calculating how to anchor the chase like he does all the time. But it was not to be. The HawkEye showed the ball going over the stumps and Dhoni should consider himself unlucky to have been dismissed in this fashion.
Ashwin made team's top score of 26 before falling to the left-arm spin of Xavier Doherty. Irfan Pathan again showed his batting skills with two huge sixes in his 22 and finally departed to Lee while attempting for a third six.
Praveen Kumar inside-edged a Doherty wide ball on the offside to end India's batting misery. Another capitulation on this forgettable Australian tour.
David Warner was adjudged Man-of-the-match for his half century. Watson, Doherty and Hilfenhaus collected two wickets each while Lee took one after being exceptional in his opening spell which read 4-0-6-0.
Australian Innings Report: Sehwag takes three
Indian bowlers came up with a fine effort towards the end to restrict Australia to 252/9 in 50 overs in their tri-series game at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here on Sunday.
Virender Sehwag was the unlikely bowling hero with figures of 3/43 in nine overs after paceman Praveen Kumar had done the initial damage after Australia had opted to bat first. India strangled Australia in the final 10 overs, with just 47 runs for four wickets. It was a much improved effort in the final overs compared to previous games.
Young fast bowler Umesh Yadav proved to be expensive, but got two crucial breakthroughs of David Hussey (54) and Matthew Wade (56) when the two were looking good to taking Australia towards an imposing total.
India, finding themselves in a must-win situation to qualify for the best-of-three finals, have done well at the break. But it is now up to their batsmen to chase down this target.
In all their previous six games, India have batted second and have been successful in overhauling the opposition's score only in two games. This will be their seventh chase on the trot in this series.
David Warner (68), D. Hussey and Wade were instrumental in the hosts crossing the 250-run mark after being jolted early by Praveen.
Michael Clarke was ruled out of the game due to a sore back and Shane Watson filled into the captaincy roles. However, the all-rounder, playing his first game since returning from injury, was out for just one run while attempting a pull shot off Praveen.
Peter Forrest, the lone centurion in the series, too fell cheaply, inside edging a ball on to his stumps. Praveen had a terrific opening spell with these two scalps.
Michael Hussey (10) too did not last as he was run out after a mix up with Warner. At that stage, Australia were 57/3 in 13.2 overs.
Warner went, after a fine catch from Suresh Raina off Ravindra Jadeja. However, as Raina attempted to take the skier from Warner, Irfan Pathan also ran in for the catch and both ended up colliding but Raina managed to hold on to the ball. Pathan had to be off the field for some treatment following this incident.
Then it was left to D Hussey and Wade to bring Australia back on track from 107/4 (21 overs). They partnered for 94 runs before Umesh Yadav, returning for a new spell, dismissed Wade in the 40th over. From then onwards, India kept taking wickets to check Australia's charge towards 280 and above.
D Hussey, with his fourth half century in the series, moved ahead of Dinesh Chandimal (306) of Sri Lanka to be the leading run scorer in the tri-series with 338. When on 17, he was involved in a controversy where Indians appealed against him for obstructing the field.
As Matthew Wade played a shot towards Suresh Raina on the fifth ball of the 24th over bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin, D Hussey ran towards the wicketkeeper's end even as Raina threw the ball towards Dhoni. Hussey, in a bid to avoid the throw, put his right hand in the way and the ball hit him and did not reach Dhoni.
D Hussey's actions immediately prompted Dhoni to appeal while the rest of his team-mates joined. On-field umpires Simon Taufel of Australia and Bowden consulted and sent the decision to be reviewed by third umpire Simon Fry of Australia.
After a close look at the replays, Fry ruled D Hussey not out. According to the new rules, that came into effect from October, 2011, a batsman can be adjudged out for obstructing the field if he significantly changes his direction thereby obstructing the fielder's attempt to run him out.
D Hussey finally fell to Yadav, edging one to Dhoni. Yadav's double strikes of Wade and D Hussey proved decisive in India restricting the hosts to just over 250.
Daniel Christian made 24 before being dismissed off the final ball of the innings by Sehwag. Left-hander Xavier Doherty hit a four and a six in the 50th over bowled by Sehwag as Australia took 13 off the final six balls.
Toss Report: Australia win toss, to bat first
Australia's stand-in captain Shane Watson won the toss and chose to bat against India in the tri-series at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here on Sunday.
Australian captain Michael Clarke was ruled out of the match due to a sore back. Watson, who returned to international cricket after a long injury lay-off is the captain of the side today. Paceman Ryan Harris is also out and Clint McKay comes back.
For India, Vinay Kumar is injured and his place is taken by Praveen Kumar. MS Dhoni, who missed the last game due to a one-match ban returned in place of Parthiv Patel.
The luck with the spin of coin continues to elude Dhoni as he has won only one toss so far in seven games. India had won the toss in the opening match of the tri-series in Melbourne against Australia on February 5. And in all previous six matches, India have batted second and the trend will continue today in the seventh.
Australia: Shane Watson (captain), David Warner, Daniel Christian, Peter Forrest, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Ben Hilfenhaus, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty, Brett Lee.
India: MS Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan.
Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Simon Taufel (Australia)
Third Umpire: Simon Fry (Australia)
Match Referee: Chris Broad (England)