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Australia blow off India at the MCG
February 01, 2008 17:13 IST
Last Updated: February 01, 2008 17:44 IST
World champions India were brought down to earth, thrashed by a ruthless Australia by nine wickets in a low-scoring Twenty20 cricket international at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
The Indians were bundled out for a paltry 74 in 17.3 overs and the home team rattled up the required runs in just 11.2 overs.
A wide from Ishant Sharma earned the hosts the winning runs after captain Michael Clark (37 not out) and Adam Gilchrist [Images] (25) set up the quick victory.
Electing to bat, only Irfan Pathan [Images] (26) got into double figure as the visitors collapsed like a deck of cards on a slow track.
Clarke was named man of the match.
Winning the toss was just about the only thing India did right in the evening. Along with their performance, the crowd's hostile reception every time Harbhajan faced a delivery or handled the ball in the field, suggested a testing time ahead for the visitors.
Worse, the off-spinner shouldered Irfan Pathan from accepting a catch off Adam Gilchrist in the Australian innings.
Every stroke of retiring wicketkeeper-batsman Gilchrist was greeted with fulsome applause from across the stands though it was his partner, and captain in the match, Clarke who produced more big shots.
Clarke twice picked up the slower deliveries from Sreesanth [Images], once square driving him past point and then depositing him into the long-on stands.
Australia lost Gilchrist with 18 remaining for victory after the batsman had hit Praveen Kumar over fine leg for a six. The next delivery he attempted a shot, Gautam Gambhir [Images] caught him at long on.
The Indians opted to rest ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar [Images] for the game, but the youngsters who were included in place of seniors like Sourav Ganguly [Images], Rahul Dravid [Images] and VVS Laxman failed to make an impression.
The slide began in the first over itself with the exit of in-form opener Virender Sehwag [Images] (0) and the team never really recovered as wickets tumbled in quick succession.
World champions India batted horribly and were 32 for 5 at one stage. Just three fours in their innings convey Australia's ascendancy.
India just about avoided ending up with the lowest total ever witnessed in a Twenty20 game, dismissed marginally ahead of the 73 which Kenya scored against New Zealand [Images] in the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa last year.
The poor batting disappointed the over 90,000 cricket fans who gathered in anticipation of a keen contest.
Batsmen after batsmen lofted the ball as they tried to take on fielders and perished.
Sehwag (0) ran himself out off a direct hit. Gautam Gambhir (9) and Robin Uthappa (1) tried to hit over the top and succeeded in going only as far as the mid-off, while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] (9) and Praveen Kumar (6) picked fielders in the deep for a sorry end to their innings.
Dinesh Karthik [Images] (8) made room to slash a high full toss from Lee and Rohit Sharma went to pull a delivery hardly short and boith saw their timbers rattled.
The best stand of the innings was of 17 runs, between top scorer Irfan Pathan (26) and Dhoni, for the sixth wicket.
Pathan alone redeemed himself in this terrible display in the middle, striking 26 balls from 30 balls.
Australia tried six bowlers and all of them were among the wickets, with Adam Voges, the slow left-arm bowler playing his second international, taking two wickets off successive deliveries.
Paceman Nathan Bracken [Images] was the pick of the Australian bowlers with impressive figures of 2.3-1-11-3 while Voges chipped in with 2 for 5. Brett Lee [Images], Ashley Nofke, James Hopes and David Hussey took a wicket each.