Aussies beat India in thriller
Australian bowlers hold their nerve to edge a four-run victory in series opener.
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2009 16:23 GMT

Australia's James Hopes powers in [GALLO/GETTY]
Australia drew first blood in the opening match of the seven game one-day internationals series with a thrilling four-run victory against India.

Hosts India were chasing a big target of 293, but slid to 201 for seven before Harbhajan Singh (49) and Praveen Kumar (40 not out) came out fighting with an eighth-wicket stand of 84.

India needed nine off the last over from Peter Siddle but the paceman bowled accurately, conceding just four runs and clean bowling Harbhajan.

"It was a pretty good performance until the last six or seven overs of the game," said Australia captain Ricky Ponting at the prize-giving ceremony.

"It was a terrific game of cricket in the end and we would have been disappointed had we lost. They kept fighting till the last ball and Harbhajan got them really close."

Batting masterclass

Earlier, Ponting (74), man of the match Michael Hussey (73), Tim Paine (50) and Cameron White (51) excelled in Australia's innings of 292 for eight after they chose to bat first.

ODI scorecard

Australia innings

S Watson lbw b Nehra 5
T Paine c Dhoni b Sharma 50
R Ponting lbw b Jadeja 74
C White c Raina b Nehra 51
M Hussey c Kohli b Sharma 73
A Voges c Gambhir b Harbhajan 3
J Hopes run out 14
M Johnson not out 14
B Lee b Sharma 0
Extras: 8
Total (eight wickets, 50 overs) 292
Fall of wickets: 1-5 2-102 3-151 4-227 5-233 6-256 7-291 8-292

India innings

V Sehwag c Paine b Lee 13
S Tendulkar c Ponting b Watson 14
G Gambhir lbw b Johnson 68
V Kohli c Watson b Voges 30
M Dhoni c Lee b Watson 34
S Raina c&b Johnson 9
R Jadeja lbw b Hauritz 5
H Singh b Siddle 49
P Kumar not out 40
A Nehra not out 2
Extras 24
Total (eight wickets, 50 overs) 288
Fall of wickets: 1-25 2-45 3-103 4-167 5-183 6-186 7-201 8-285

Fast bowler Ashish Nehra provided India with an early breakthrough when he had Shane Watson lbw for five.

Ponting settled in, putting on 97 for the second wicket with opener Paine and 49 for the next with White before falling lbw to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

Vice-captain Hussey stepped on the accelerator, sharing a stand of 76 with White and smashing his 73 off just 54 balls with eight fours and a six.

Left-hander Gautam Gambhir then hit 68 to boost India after Australia had removed Virender Sehwag (13) and Sachin Tendulkar (14) cheaply.

Explosive batsman Yuvraj Singh missed the game with a finger injury but Gambhir put on 64 with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (34) for the fourth wicket to keep India in the contest.

All-rounder Mitchell Johnson then trapped Gambhir lbw with a yorker and caught and bowled Suresh Raina for nine.

Watson followed up by having Dhoni caught at mid-on before Harbhajan and Praveen came together in a 57-ball stand that gave Australia a mighty scare, especially after clubbing Watson for 20 runs in the penultimate over.

The second game is in Nagpur on Wednesday.

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