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A scintillating century from Yuvraj Singh [Images] was not enough to deny Australia another thumping victory. The visitors easily beat India by 47 runs in the third One-Day International in Uppal, Hyderabad, on Friday to go 2-0 up in the seven-match series.
The left-hander waged a lone battle, scoring an entertaining 121, but the rest of the batsmen failed to deliver as India were bowled out for 243 in reply to Australia's 290 for 7.
Brett Lee [Images] was the pick of the Australian bowlers, claiming 3 for 37, which included the wickets of Gautam Gambhir [Images], Rahul Dravid [Images] and Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images].
Left-arm spinner Brad Hogg [Images] took 3 for 46 in nine overs.
Earlier, Andrew Symonds [Images] smashed 89 runs, including five boundaries and as many sixes, in a 67-ball knock as Australia again dominated with the bat.
He added 123 runs for the fourth wicket with Michael Clarke [Images], who scored 59, after Matthew Hayden [Images] continued his rich vein of form, scoring a quick 60, inclusive of 10 boundaries to give Australia a fine start.
Hayden set the tone for the innings as early as the first over, hitting Zaheer Khan [Images] for two consecutive boundaries. He then repeated the dose on S Sreesanth [Images] five overs later as Australia raced to 42 for no loss in six overs.
Sreesanth's struggle was clear in the ninth over when he bowled quite a few wides, conceded a boundary and seemed quite irritated by it. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was unhappy and had a long chat with the Kerala [Images] pacer, who, surprisingly, has kept his mouth shut. He was immediately replaced in the next over by Irfan Pathan [Images]. Australia were 56 for no loss after nine.
Harbhajan Singh [Images] was introduced into the attack early in the 13th over and started off with a maiden. Pathan then struck the first blow when he got the wicket of Gilchrist in the next over. The left-hander tried to hit across the line, but missed the ball completely and was bowled for 29.
The wicket brought much-needed relief to the Indians, as the openers had amassed 76 for the first wicket by the 14th over.
Captain Ricky Ponting [Images], back in the team after missing the first two games, got a lucky reprieve on 10. He was well-short of his crease after Hayden sent him back, but Zaheer dislodged the bails with his hands, in the 17th over.
Hayden completed his half-century in the next over when he lashed Pathan through the off-side. He attained the landmark in 59 deliveries, hitting nine boundaries, as Australia reached 105 for 1.
The left-hander eased his way to a solid 60, but lost his wicket to a loose shot. He tried to hit a wide delivery from Pathan, but got a bottom edge, which was neatly taken by Dhoni, standing up to the wickets in the 20th over.
Ponting was not his usual self as he struggled his way to 25 from 43 deliveries, before trying to hit out against part-timer Yuvraj Singh. He tried to loft Yuvraj on the off-side but could only manage to hit it straight to Sreesanth at long-off as Australia reached 135 for 3 in the 29th over.
Australia were 166 for 3 when the ball was changed. This was the stage India needed to guard against. In the last two matches, they conceded a lot of runs in the last 16 overs.
In-form Michael Clarke was made to work hard for his runs as he took 45 balls to hit his first boundary and move to 28. But he never seemed bothered by the fact that the Indians had contained him to a certain extent.
Andrew Symonds started positively and scored at nearly a run a ball as Australia reached 207 for 3 after 40 overs.
Clarke reached his half-century off 63 deliveries, inclusive of three boundaries, in the 42nd over as Australia threatened to post another big total for the third match in a row.
Symonds completed his half-century with a huge six off Yuvraj in the 44th over, taking just 50 balls to reach the mark. He then followed it up with another big six over mid-wicket and a pulled boundary through the same region as Yuvraj conceded 21 runs in the over.
Clarke fell in the next over when he was caught by Pathan at long-on off Zaheer after a breezy knock of 59. He hit four boundaries in his 71-ball stay, adding 123 runs in a mere 100 balls for the fourth wicket with Symonds as Australia took control, reaching 258 for 4 in the 45th over.
Australia had made a strange decision to drop the in-form Brad Haddin and retain the struggling Brad Hodge in the team for this match. However, Hodge's horror run continued as he was bowled by Zaheer for 5.
Sreesanth controlled his temper for the most part of the innings, but lost it in the final over when he dropped an easy caught and bowled chance off Hopes. The batsman played a slog shot but top edged it and Sreesanth, who had ages to catch it, dropped the ball and in a fit of anger threw the ball at the non-striker's end only to concede another run.
He then made it up with two wickets off the final two deliveries of the innings as Australia finished on 290 for six.
Symonds fell for a magnificent knock of 89, caught by Robin Uthappa at long-off off Sreesanth. He hit five boundaries and five sixes in his 67-ball knock as Australia once again prospered in the final few overs.
Hopes was caught by Dravid at mid-wicket for 11 off the final delivery. Sreesanth finished with 2 for 58 in his 10 overs.
India managed to restrict Australia below 300 but, still, it will take another huge effort to chase down the total. They pegged back the scoring in the last five overs, giving away only 32 runs, but it was the middle overs that made them suffer.
Harbhajan was India's best bowler, but failed to take any wickets, giving away 38 runs in his 10 overs. Pathan again did the job in the middle overs, taking 2 for 57 in his 10 overs and Zaheer claimed 2 for 61.
The Indian batsmen struggled in the second ODI at Kochi and it remains to be seen whether they can put up a better showing here. It is a do-or-die situation as far as India is concerned. A 0-2 deficit will be very difficult to come back from.
Sachin Tendulkar [Images] got India off the mark in style, hitting a boundary off Mitchell Johnson through the off-side in the second over of the innings. However, the loss of three quick wickets in the space of three overs saw the team being reduced to 13 for 3 by the fifth over.
Gautam Gambhir fell cheaply for 6, dismissed leg before wicket to Brett Lee. The left-hander was trapped in front of the stumps to a full-pitched delivery from the fast bowler.
Robin Uthappa followed him in the next over after falling in similar fashion. He shuffled across the stumps but missed the ball and was adjudged leg before wicket for 0.
Rahul Dravid lasted just four deliveries before he was brilliant caught by Hayden in the slips off Lee.
Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh then set about repairing the damage with some cautious batting and India reached 50 for 3 after 15 overs, struggling to get the scoreboard ticking.
Left-arm spinner Brad Hogg was introduced in the 19th over and India immediately decided to take him on. Yuvraj was particularly harsh on him as he tried to hit a boundary every over off the slower bowler.
He reached his half-century with a sweet six over the midwicket area in the 25th over. It is the same ground that Yuvraj hit a century on in the last match he played against South Africa in 2005. But then India finished on the losing side.
Tendulkar, meanwhile, was content to play the sheet anchor role at the other end and focussed on rotating the strike. He, however, fell at possibly the wrong time for India, beaten by an incoming delivery from Hogg.
Yuvraj was starting to lift the scoring rate, but at the other end Tendulkar was bowled for 43. He hit six boundaries in his 71-ball knock, adding 95 runs for the fourth wicket as India reached 108 for 4 after 25 overs.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni started off confidently and did not let the wicket of Tendulkar affect the scoring. He was also helped by the fact that Australia had their slow bowlers in operation.
After 30 overs, India were 142 for 4, needing another 149 runs in 20 overs. It set up a perfect Twenty20 game for the World champions, but only thing they had to guard against was the loss of wickets.
Yuvraj continued milking the Aussie attack and brought up the fifty-run partnership with Dhoni with a straight lofted boundary off Hopes in the 34th over. Both batsmen never let the tempo drop during their stay in the middle and India were still in with a chance even though the run-rate was above 8.
Dhoni smashed Lee for a powerful boundary down the ground in the 36th over but fell five balls later, caught behind for a quick 33.
The Dhoni-Yuvraj partnership yielded 65 runs in as many balls and India now needed 118 from 14 overs, with five wickets in hand.
Mumbai youngster Rohit Sharma found the pressure too much to handle. He score 1 before pulling Hopes straight to the fine leg fielder as India were reduced to 176 for 6 in the 37th over.
Irfan Pathan was dismissed leg before wicket by Hogg and India's chances of winning the match also faded. Even for Yuvraj, who was belting the ball around, it seemed an impossible task.
Yuvraj completed his century in the 41st over with a single on the off-side off Hogg. It was his second century in as many matches and took 104 deliveries, including 11 boundaries and a six.
The left-hander scored a valiant effort with some big hitting at the end. But despite that the task always seemed out of hand.
He raced to 121 off just 115 deliveries, including 12 boundaries and three sixes, before he was bowled by Johnson in the 44th over. He walked back to a standing ovation from the packed crowd, which was starting to leave. Even a few Aussie players walked up to him and congratulated him on the fine effort.
Though he scored two centuries in as many games at the venue, it did not turn out to be that lucky for his team.
It could be said that with a little bit of support from the other end, he could have well taken India home, but the middle order failed to deliver yet again.
Sreesanth was the final wicket, bowled by a magnificent Yorker from Clarke for 1, while Harbhajan Singh finished unbeaten on 19 off 22 deliveries.
India were bowled out for 243 in 47.4 overs and lost the match by 47 runs.
0-2 down, India face the Herculean task of bouncing back with just four matches to go.
It's been more than three years now that India have beaten Australia in a one-day international, their last victory over the World champions coming at MCG in February 2004. They can now hope for an improved showing and break that sequence in the next match at Chandigarh on October 8.
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