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India mauled by Australia in Melbourne

Last updated on: February 5, 2012 18:21 IST

Mitchell Starc accounted for Tendulkar, Gambhir

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India opened their tri-series campaign on a disappointing note as they slumped to a 65-run defeat against Australia, who yet again exposed the batting chinks of the visitors in a rain-truncated encounter in Melbourne on Sunday. 

Australia recovered from a few early jolts to score 216 for five in their 32 overs and then bundled out the visitors for 151 in 29.4 overs at the flood-lit MCG.

It was left-arm paceman Starc who struck early with the scalps of openers Sachin Tendulkar (2) and Gautam Gambhir (5) in his first spell. Bowling full and with the same venom as in Tests, Starc and his new ball partner Ryan Harris came hard at the Indians first up.

Tendulkar was the first one to leave, driving away from his body and being caught brilliantly by a diving Ricky Ponting at point region. Gambhir departed in his now customary fashion, edging a catch behind the stumps to Matthew Wade. 

Image: Mitchell Starc of Australia celebrates the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar of India during game one of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series
Photographs: Getty Images

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Vinay Kumar impressed with the ball

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Earlier, the Indian bowlers faltered after a good start as Australia recovered to pile up 216 for 5 from their allotted 32 overs.

Hampered by rain intervention which reduced the match to a 32-overs-a-side affair, the hosts, put in to bat, made a brilliant comeback after being 35-2 in 11 overs.     

India were sloppy in the field and only doughty Vinay Kumar stood out with 3 for 21 from his seven overs.


Image: Vinay Kumar of India celebrates after taking the wicket of Ricky Ponting of Australia during game one of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series
Photographs: Getty Images

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Ponting looked rusty during his short stay

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The two Kumars, Praveen and Vinay, were spot on with their line and length and pressure gradually started to mount on the openers who were unable to break the shackles. 

 Warner, usually explosive, had done no better than score 6 off 14 balls when he tried an ugly hoick off Vinay Kumar and an incoming delivery knocked his middle stump back. 

 Ponting, returning to fold after the Test series ended last month, showed rustiness in his 2 off 12 balls before he played a lifting delivery from Vinay Kumar into the hands of short extra-cover fielder, Suresh Raina.


Image: Ricky Ponting of Australia leaves the field after being dismissed during game one of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series between Australia and India at the Melbourne
Photographs: Getty Images

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The rain break helped Australia

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The hosts were tottering at 35 for two in the 11th over when the heavens opened. 

No play was possible for the next two hours and when the match did resume, it had been reduced to 32 overs a side.

India gained an immediate success on resumption when skipper Michael Clarke (10) holed out to deep midwicket off the part-time spin of Rohit Sharma. 

Then Australia stabilised. The visitors' over-reliance on spinners cost them dear as 181 runs came off the final 21 overs.


Image: Ground staff work at drying the centre of the field during a rain delay during game one of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series between Australia and India
Photographs: Getty Images

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Debutant Wade made an immediate impression

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Opener Matthew Wade led the revival with a well made 67.

The debutant wicketkeeper-batsman made an immediate impression with his 69-ball innings, one that included four fours and two sixes.

The Australians broke loose in the 20th over when R Ashwin went for 14 runs. Unbeaten on 21 at the rain break, Wade  ttacked Rohit Sharma's second over by lifting him to widish long on. He then ran and dived for every opportunity before reaching his maiden half century with a tap on the onside, consuming 55 balls with four fours and a six. 

Million-dollar man Ravindra Jadeja got a rude shock when Wade came down the track to lift him into the stands for a massive six. 

The introduction of leg-spinner Rahul Sharma brought the much-needed edge in the visitors' bowling and the youngster broke the stand when he had Wade playing him on to his stumps. 

But by then Wade had done enough to ensure him the man-of-the-match honours.


Image: Matthew Wade of Australia cuts with MS Dhoni of India looking on during game one of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series
Photographs: Getty Images

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Mike Hussey made 45 off 32 balls

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Mike Hussey, meanwhile, first shared a 73-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Wade.

The veteran kept his busy self at the other end, sweeping Indian spinner magnificently and sharing a little cameo of a 32 off 19 balls with his younger brother David for the sixth wicket as well. 

This spurt to Australia's score was possible due to an expensive over of 14 runs by Ashwin who conceded a six and a four off successive balls to David Hussey, both pulled in the midwicket direction. 

Medium-pacer Vinay Kumar returned for his second spell and immediately broke through when Mike Hussey pulled him superbly but straight to Virat Kohli at deep square leg. The senior Hussey made 45 off 32 balls with four fours.


Image: Mike Hussey of Australia bats during game one of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 5, 2012
Photographs: Getty Images

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David Hussey then provided the rousing finish

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David Hussey then provided the rousing finish but not before a bizarre drama enacted in the final over of the innings.

Rahul Sharma came on to bowl and had sent down two deliveries, conceding two runs before the umpires realised the leg-spinner had already bowled six overs. According to rules, only two bowlers could have bowled seven overs and this was already done by Praveen and Vinay Kumar.

So, Rahul Sharma was duly removed and Jadeja was asked to finish off and bowl the remaining four balls. The left-arm spinner conceded 16 runs off these four balls including a no-ball and Hussey helped himself with two sixes to finish with 61 off 30 balls with four fours and three maximums.

Hussey's 61 off 30 balls and his sixth-wicket stand of 62 off 32 balls with Daniel Christian (17 not out) propelled Australia to what turned out to be a match-winning total.


Image: David Hussey of Australia bats during game one of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
Photographs: Getty Images

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Dhoni witnessed his batsmen flounder again

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India were never in the chase and but for young guns Virat Kohli (31) and Rohit Sharma (21) and their 51-run third wicket stand, India's top order collapsed in a heap to Australian pacemen. 

The match was now as good as over and overlooked in the melee was Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 29 off 38 balls.

IPL's record signing Ravindra Jadeja could manage only 19.


Image: MS Dhoni of India leaves the field after being dismissed during game one of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series in Melbourne
Photographs: Getty Images

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McKay was the most destructive home bowler

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Clint McKay was the most destructive home bowler, taking four wickets for just 20 runs. 

McKay, on his first four balls in the match, sent them both Kohli and Sharma - who had raised 51 runs off 47 balls for the third wicket - packing.

Kohli cut McKay's second ball most fiercely but Ponting, coming in forward at point, held an amazing catch in front of his face. Two balls later, Sharma held his bat out limply and offered a catch to Wade.

McKay returned to claim the wickets of Jadeja and Praveen Kumar (15).


Image: Clint McKay of Australia appeals unsuccessfully during game one of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
Photographs: Getty Images

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