A fine bowling performance from India saw Australia get restricted to 252 for 9 on what looks like a good batting surface at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Umesh Yadav delivered crucial blows while Praveen Kumar and Virender Sehwag chipped in with economical bowling to leave India with a realistic chance of winning the 10th match of the CB Series.
Praveen Kumar started the match in India’s favour with two big blows removing Skipper Shane Watson (1, miscuing a pull shot to mid on in the 3rd over) and Peter Forrest (7, chopping one back onto his stumps) to leave the hosts on the backfoot at 26 for 2 in 6.2 overs.
India didn’t manage to make any further inroads and it was only against the run of play that they got the wicket of next man Michael Hussey through a run out to break a promising partnership with David Warner. Michael Hussey (10) got run out at the bowling end when he was sent back from taking a second run from long off in the 14th over.
Australia were 57 for 3 when David Warner was joined by David Hussey. Warner turned the heat on India with his first half century of the Series. However, Warner (68 from 66 balls with 7 fours) perished in the 21st over got brilliantly caught by the backward running Suresh Raina at backward squareleg. Raina managed to hold onto the top edge off Warner’s slog sweep despite having a serious collision with Irfan Pathan who charged in from fine leg. The wicket taker for India was Ravindra Jadeja as Australia found themselves at 107 for 4.
India once again failed to make further inroads and were defied by a superb 94-run stand between David Hussey and Matthew Wade. During the course of this partnership, there was a dramatic moment when David Hussey came very close in being given out ‘obstructing the field’ when he almost gloved a throw from Raina while stealing a single. However, David Hussey was doing it unintentionally due to the fear of getting hit on his body. That let off was good enough for the Aussies to bounce back strongly through David Hussey and Wade.
It was in the 40th over when India finally broke the 5th wicket stand when Matthew Wade (56 from 66 balls with 2 fours and a six) was caught behind looking to steer a quick delivery from Umesh Yadav to thirdman. In the 43rd over, Umesh Yadav changing ends got David Hussey (54 from 64 balls with 2 fours) top edging a pull faintly to MS Dhoni to have the hosts at 212 for 6. India did a great job after that by removing two more wickets quickly to have the Aussies struggling at 232 for 7 in 47.3 overs.
Eventually Australia had to settle for only 252 for 9 which looks to be a below par total on a good batting surface. India’s best bowler was Praveen Kumar with 10-1-37-2. Umesh Yadav was expensive going for 39 in 6 overs but came up with two key wickets. And Virender Sehwag bowled brilliantly in the final overs giving away only 43 runs in 9 overs besides taking three wickets.
Toss and Teams: Australia have won the toss and elected to bat first at the Sydney Cricket Ground in what is a must win match for not just India but also for the hosts. India is once again left to chasing in this tournament which has been a difficult affair under lights!
Shane Watson returns back to the side after sometime and straightaway has been burdened with captaincy with Michael Clarke pulling out with a back injury! This will be the first time that Shane Watson will be leading his country. Australia have made one more change with Clint McKay coming in for Ryan Harris.
India have made as many as three changes! The rotation policy has come to an end and the team will have the top three players – Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. MS Dhoni returns back to the team after a one-match ban and he replaces Parthiv Patel. The visitors have lost Zaheer Khan (calf muscle) and R Vinay Kumar (hamstring) due to injuries. Replacing Vinay Kumar is going to be Praveen Kumar while Zaheer Khan was out of the last match as well.
Pitch Report: The last time a match was played at the SCG in this same series, Sri Lanka had the better of Australia on a pitch that assisted seamers and also provided quite a lot of bounce. Today it could assist the batsmen and later on aid the spinners but it could change its nature under the lights.
Australia : DA Warner, SR Watson (Captain), PJ Forrest, MS Wade (Wicket Keeper), MEK Hussey, DT Christian, DJ Hussey, B Lee, ,CJ McKay, BJ Hilfenhaus, XJ Doherty
India: V Sehwag, SR Tendulkar, G Gambhir, V Kohli, SK Raina, MS Dhoni (Captain & Wicket Keeper), RA Jadeja, R Ashwin, IK Pathan, PS Kumar, U Yadav