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Rain played spoilsport, washing out the first One-Day International between India and Australia at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Saturday.
India, replying to Australia's 307 for 5 wickets, were 9 for the loss of Sachin Tendulkar's [Images] wicket in 2.4 overs when a heavy shower forced the players to return to the pavilion.
Tendulkar (0) was trapped leg before wicket by left-armer Mitchell Johnson in the second over of the innings.
Efforts were made to dry the ground, but in vain. The umpires carried out an inspection at 2130 IST and after consultation with the two captains decided that the outfield was too wet to continue with the match.
Earlier, Michael Clarke [Images] rallied Australia with a sparkling century.
The 24-year-old scored 130 before being run-out to the last ball of the innings, as the visitors, who elected to bat after winning the toss, fought back from 90 for 4 in the 17th over to post a mammoth total.
His 132-ball knock, which produced flashes of the debut Test century he scored at this same venue three years back, contained ten boundaries and three sixes.
He added 144 runs for the fifth wicket with Brad Haddin, who scored a quick 69.
Pacer S Sreesanth [Images], who rocked the Australian top order, was the pick of the Indian bowlers, claiming 3 for 55.
All-rounder James Hopes scored a quick 37 from 25 deliveries to boost the score in the final overs.
The second ODI of the seven-match will be played in Cochin on October 2,
The noise at the packed 40,000-capacity Chinnaswamy stadium was deafening as the Indian team walked out to the middle. The Twenty20 World Cup triumph was still fresh in the minds of the fans and they gave the team a huge reception.
Zaheer Khan [Images] gave India the first breakthrough when he got the wicket of Adam Gilchrist [Images] for 12. The left-hander lashed at a wide delivery and Yuvraj Singh [Images], at point, came up with a great catch, diving full length to his right.
S Sreesanth then struck in the next over when he trapped Brad Hodge leg before wicket for 0, as Australia were reduced to 18 for 2 in the fourth over.
Without captain Ricky Ponting [Images] and Michael Hussey in the line-up, Australia's batting was suddenly looking fragile. The impetus now lay on the experienced Matthew Hayden [Images] to guide the World champions out of the early trouble.
The burly left-hander, after a few quiet overs, set about the task of taking on the Indian bowlers. He took a particular liking to R P Singh and dispatched the left-armer for three boundaries and a six in the space of two overs as Australia scored a healthy 73 for 2 in 12 overs.
India then squeezed in a couple of tight overs and Hayden's patience finally ran out. The left-hander tried a cross-bat slog against Sreesanth, but was beaten and the ball crashed onto his middle stump. He scored a breezy 34 from 39 deliveries, including five boundaries and a six, adding 60 runs for the third wicket with Michael Clarke.
The Kerala [Images] speedster then dealt the Aussies another big blow when he trapped Andrew Symonds [Images] leg before wicket for 7. The batsman was beaten by a slower delivery from Sreesanth and Australia were reeling at 90 for 4 in the 17th over.
The young Clarke was now left with the responsibility of getting Australia out of trouble. There was not much batting left and joining him at the crease was the untested Brad Haddin.
The two batsmen started off cautiously but soon Haddin started to take the initiative after launching Powar for a huge straight six in the 23rd over. They kept the score ticking in the middle overs with some quick running between the wickets and never let the bowlers settle down.
Clarke brought up his half-century in the 30th over (off 68 deliveries, inclusive of five boundaries) with a single off Irfan Pathan [Images]. Australia reached a solid 177 for 4 after 34 overs and at that stage the ball was changed as per the new ICC [Images] ruling.
But India did not find much joy with the new ball either as Clarke continued milking the bowling without much difficulty.
Haddin brought up his second ODI half-century in the 36th over with a single off Zaheer. Australia were 220 for 4 at the end of 40 overs and a score in excess of 300 looked a real possibility. With the two batsmen looking in great touch, it was now all-out attack time for the Aussies, something we got used to in the Twenty20 World Cup.
Haddin stepped down the wicket to part-timer Yuvraj Singh in a bid to swing him on the leg side, but missed and was easily stumped by Dhoni [Images].
However, the 23-year-old had done his job by then, playing a solid knock of 69 and helping Australia inch towards a huge total after the loss of a cluster of wickets initially.
Haddin hit seven boundaries and a six in his 83-ball knock, but, more importantly, it was the support he gave Clarke that hurt India the most.
The two batsmen added a massive 144 runs for the fifth wicket in 152 deliveries to take the game away from India in the middle overs.
In the very next over, Clarke brought up his century in style when he lofted a full toss from Powar over the midwicket fence for a six. It took him 108 deliveries to complete his third century in ODIs and included eight boundaries and two sixes.
He followed it up with another big six in the same over, but this time it was straight down the ground. Nothing was working for Powar, as in that same over he failed to hold on to a high catch from new batsman James Hopes.
The 28-year-old all-rounder made India pay for the lapse, striking two boundaries in the 45th over, bowled by Sreesanth. He was out after a quick 37 from 25 deliveries, inclusive of four boundaries, caught by Tendulkar at long-on off Zaheer Khan. He added 73 runs for the sixth wicket with Clarke off 48 deliveries as the Indian bowlers suffered in the final few overs.
The next delivery, the final of the Australian innings, also produced another wicket as Clarke was run-out after a brilliant knock of 130.
The right-hander's 132-ball essay contained 10 boundaries and three sixes as Australia posted a huge 307 for 7 in their 50 overs.
Clarke's innings was a perfect exhibition of how to bat in one-day internationals. Never once during did he let the Indian bowlers get on top and his running between the wickets with Haddin was just exemplary.
The Chinnaswamy stadium is turning out to be a lucky venue for Clarke. It was at this very ground that the right-hander struck a century on debut against India in October 2004.
Australia are unbeaten for 11 matches, which includes their victory over Sri Lanka [Images] by 53 runs (D/L method) in the 2007 World Cup final, in the West Indies [Images]. It will take one hell of a batting performance from the Indians to chase down this huge target.
One thing in the Indians' favour though is the flat wicket dished out by the curator. Still, it would need some intelligent batting, especially in the middle overs.
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