|Gotcha – Australia ripped through India’s top order to cruise to a comfortable win, with only skipper MS Dhoni passing fifty [GETTY]|
Ben Hilfenhaus marked his return to the limited-overs international arena with a five-wicket haul as Australia beat World Cup champions India by 110 runs on Sunday to retake the lead in the tri-series standings.
The Australians rebounded from an eight-wicket loss to Sri Lanka on Friday with a comprehensive performance against India.
Mike Hussey and Peter Forrest scored half centuries as Australia tallied 288 for five after winning the toss and batting.
Hilfenhaus and Brett Lee then tormented the top order, taking two wickets apiece in their opening spells to have India reeling at 36-4.
Only skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni defied the Australian attack, scoring 56 from 84 balls, including a driven six and a boundary on consecutive balls from Lee, before he was out to Hilfenhaus in the 38th over. In his first ODI since 2009, Hilfenhaus returned 5-33.
It was not a happy day for Sachin Tendulkar, who is still one short of his 100th international century. The 38-year-old Tendulkar hurt his left shin while fielding in the 25th over and did not return for the remainder of the Australian innings.
M Wade c & b Sharma 45
G Gambhir c Wade b Lee 5
He was caught at third man, attempted to upper cut Hilfenhaus, to extend his stretch without a hundred to 29 innings since his 111 against South Africa in the World Cup on March 12.
Apart from Dhoni, the India batsmen struggled against the pace and bounce of the Australian attack.
By contrast, all of the Australian batsmen contributed except Ricky Ponting (7), whose form slump in the one-day format continued with his fifth consecutive dismissal for single figures.
Matthew Wade (45) and David Warner (43) got Australia away to a steady start with a 70-run opening stand.
Warner made an uncharacteristically cautious start before belting Zaheer Khan for two boundaries and a driven six within four balls to significantly boost Australia’s run-rate.
Just when he was looking set, Warner misjudged a slower ball from Pathan and meekly chipped to Tendulkar at mid-wicket. The Australians slipped to 83-2 at Ponting’s dismissal and were 117-3 when Wade was out.
Mike Hussey (59) and Forrest (52) shared a 100-run fourth-wicket stand to restore the innings before Pathan struck twice to remove them both in the 44th over.
But Pathan’s double breakthrough barely seemed to hamper Australia, with Dan Christian and David Hussey (26 not out) belting 65 in the last six overs.
Christian scored an unbeaten 30 from 18 balls, including four consecutive boundaries off Vinay Kumar in the 49th over.
Pathan troubled the Australian batsmen at times with some variation in his pace but his figures blew out to 3-61 when he conceded 15 runs in the last over.
India had their share of chances, but some missed opportunities were costly.
Wade was dropped in the first over when he edged Zaheer Khan and was put down by Rohit Sharma, who dived to his right in front of Tendulkar at first slip.
Hussey was on one when he was given out after a review of a stumping appeal but was recalled when umpire Billy Bowden realised that TV official Bruce Oxenford had pushed the wrong button and had meant to flash “not out” on the scoreboard.
Bowden chased Hussey as the Australian batsman walked toward the pavilion, calling him back to the crease.
Hussey was also dropped by Umesh Yadav at midoff when he was 32 and just avoided a run-out, surviving to surpass 5,000 runs in limited-overs internationals before he was out trying to lift the run rate.
Speculation about Ponting’s future in the one-day setup will intensify after the 37-year-old batsman was out in single figures for the fifth consecutive innings – the first time that has happened in his career.