Rohit Sharma and Mahendra Dhoni ensured a five-wicket victory for India over Australia after the world champions had threatened to snatch an improbable win in their triangular series one-day international.
|Ishant Sharma is surrounded after claiming the wicket |
of Matthew Hayden [GALLO/GETTY]
Chasing just 160 to win after bowling Australia out for 159, India slumped to 102 for five in the middle overs of their innings before Rohit and captain Dhoni rescued them.
Rohit (39 not out) showed maturity beyond his 20 years to see off a fired-up Australian pace attack that had threatened to run through India's batting before he and Dhoni (17 not out) combined in a match winning 58-run unbroken partnership.
Dhoni also took four catches and made a stumping in Australia's innings.
Sachin Tendulkar top-scored for India with a belligerent 44, which included three tremendous boundaries in one Brett Lee over, while Mitchell Johnson finished with two for 24 off 10 overs.
"There was some pretty poor batting today, to get 159 on that wicket was never enough," Australia captain Ricky Ponting said.
"The way we stuck at our task with the ball and particularly in the field, we gave ourselves half a chance of winning the game."
India had looked to make light work of the small target and while nearly all of their batsmen got starts they were dismissed by the Australian pace quartet who cunningly varied their length and speed to produce false shots from the batsmen.
The sixth-wicket pairing, however, settled the innings down, scratching out singles where the could and slowly ticked off the runs needed for victory, which was achieved when Andrew Symonds bowled a bouncer over Rohit's head that was declared wide.
Earlier, Ishant Sharma had ripped through the heart of Australia's vaunted batting line-up to help India dismiss the hosts for a paltry 159 off 43.1 overs.
Ishant had Matthew Hayden (25), Ponting (9) and Andrew Symonds (14) all caught behind, as he and Shantha Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan reduced Australia to 75 for five in the 18th over.
Australia passed 150 after some dogged resistance from Mike Hussey, who top-scored with 65 not out, and a 53-run partnership he crafted with Lee (10) to give their bowlers any semblance of a target to defend.
Ishant ended with figures of 4-38 while Sreesanth finished with 3-31.