Friday, February 29, 2008


India survived a valiant fightback from Australia to win a thrilling second Commonwealth Bank final by nine runs and claim the series 2-0.

Irfan Pathan took two wickets in the final over with Australia needing 13 to win, after a half-century from James Hopes had inspired the hosts' fightback.

Chasing 259 after Sachin Tendulkar posted a classy 91, Australia struggled to recover from the loss of Adam Gilchrist, who scored two in his last ever international innings, and skipper Ricky Ponting for one.

Matthew Hayden (55) and the middle order provided some resistance to set up a nailbiting finish but the India bowlers skittled the tail to clinch victory.


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India were almost made to rue not setting a higher total after Tendulkar's innings, Yuvraj Singh's 38 and 36 from Mahendra Singh Dhoni had set the platform. A lower order collapse prevented a more daunting total but in reply, Australia made a nervous start and lost Gilchrist in the first over.

He tentatively prodded at Kumar's third delivery and edged behind to Dhoni, and was followed by Ponting, whose century against India in Sydney was a rare highlight in an otherwise dismal series with the bat. The skipper mis-timed a pull off a short Kumar ball which Yuvraj snaffled easily at mid-on.

Michael Clarke temporarily steadied the ship, hitting 17 off 22 balls, but was fooled by a slower ball from Kumar which stayed low and he was bowled trying to play across the line.

Symonds, not distracted by having to poleaxe a streaker before he had even faced a ball, signalled his intent by cutting Kumar for three, which followed Hayden's powerful pull for his second boundary.

Although restricted for long spells by the excellent India attack, Hayden brought up his 50 by clipping Harbhajan for a single and Symonds gave Australia some much-needed impetus by hauling Piyush Chawla for six off the spinner's first ball.

But the opener's innings came to an end just after the halfway point when he was sent back to the non-striker's end by Symonds and was run out for 55.

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