India blown away in do-or-die encounter

08 Nov 2009 by Mahendra Prasad in India vs Australia 2009 ODI Series

australlia_cricket_team-jpgMitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger made excellent use of the early morning moisture on the Guwahati pitch as Australia crushed India by 6 wickets in the 6th one-day international, and in the process clinched the series 4-2. Johnson picked up three wickets while Bollinger claimed his maiden five-wicket haul to bowl India out for a paltry 170. Matters could have been worse for the home side, but for defiant half-centuries from Ravindra Jadeja and Praveen Kumar. They had crumbled to 27/5 and then 75/7 before the Jadeja and Kumar combined to add a valuable 74 for the eighth wicket. In reply, Australia lost Shaun Marsh early, but handy contributions from the remaining batsmen saw them through easily.

Earlier in the day, MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat first – a decision which he was left ruing within 15 minutes of the game. Mitchell Johnson, who had a horrendous series before the game, came into his own on a pitch that offered him more than a semblance of assistance. Though Virender Sehwag smashed the second delivery of the game for six over point, he was cleaned up the left-arm seamer in the same over with a fuller delivery. The Indian opener’s defence stood thoroughly exposed as his attempted drive saw his stumps ending up in shambles. In came Gautam Gambhir and, in a matter of minutes, out went Gambhir. The left-handed batsmen tried to play one across the line on the on side, but the ball moved in the opposite direction and sent the furniture behind him cart-wheeling. Soon, Johnson sent back sometimes in-form, sometimes out-of-form Suresh Raina with a slower delivery that the youngster failed to pick and handed a simple catch to short mid-on.

At the other end, Bollinger was in his elements too. Amidst all the havoc wreaked by Johnson, he began by sending back the danger man Sachin Tendulkar, caught and bowled off a straightish delivery. Next man Yuvraj Singh was dismissed rather freakishly. Unaware of where the ball had landed up after playing a defensive stroke, Yuvraj turned around in place his bat inside his crease. Unfortunately, the ball was still in motion at that very place and the meeting the willow saw it end up dislodging the bails.

As if India weren’t embarrassed enough, Bollinger returned for two more spells and had an equally damaging impact. He broke a steadily developing partnership between Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja. The Indian skipper was a tad unlucky as he was adjudged lbw off a delivery that was going to miss the off-stump. But this was Bollinger’s day. He got his much-deserved fifth wicket when Jadeja went for an ambitious on-side wallop in the batting power play just after completing his half-century. Some meaty blows by Kumar ensured India gained a degree of respectability before Shane Watson cleaned up the tail.

Australia did not have too much trouble in their chase. There was a brief flutter when Ponting and Waston fell after a steadying partnership. But the Indian bowlers did not have enough runs to play with. In the end, it was a deserving win for the Aussies.

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