Zeenews Sports Bureau
Adelaide: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni fired India home against Australia in the fourth ODI of the CB series on Sunday with two balls to spare in a match that offered plenty of twists and turns.
Needing 13 runs in the last over, Ashwin missed the first one from McKay and scored a single in the next to hand over the strike to Dhoni, who saved his best for the last. Under pressure, he pulled the next to a six, picking a length delivery from outside off.
Dhoni pulled a waist-high ball, which was called no-ball, to deep square leg, and completed two runs before he was caught by Warner. He followed it up with three runs in the next ball to finish the job.
However, the victory left India needing to address issues in chasing, after they were stretched this far even after enjoying the best start so far in the series. Thanks to Gambhir’s 92-run knock. He spearheaded the Indian chase, along with Virender Sehwag, with ease. They were sent on a mission and started on a positive note, on a ground where India has never managed to pull off an ODI victory against the Australians before.
The left-handed batsman’s innings included seven boundaries. The openers laced up 52 runs for the first wicket partnership inside nine overs and were going strong before Sehwag gifted a simple catch to Hussey at point. He was out for 20 runs. Virat Kohli, who followed after Sehwag, couldn’t stay long as he was caught at cover by Forrest when trying for a big hit off McKay.
Gambhir was well set for a century and brought together 76 runs for the 3rd wicket partnership along with Rohit Sharma. Sharma looked promising initially but failed to convert the good start. He fell after a poor shot towards long off where he was caught by Starc. His 31 runs off 41 balls included one four and one six.
Things took a different turn soon after Gambhir’s dismissal. He departed scoring 92 off 111 balls after he was trapped leg before wicket by McKay. Soon the sign of a victory, which appeared so near for the Men in Blue, began to fade. But soon, Suresh Raina, who teamed up with captain Dhoni, began to build another partnership and hope for the team. They were responsible for a 61-run 5th wicket partnership before Raina got out scoring 38.
Of the bowlers in the Australian ranks, only Clint McKay bowled in a telling manner. Incidentally, the same bowler had to face the music in the final over from a calm and composed Dhoni.
Earlier, a brilliant fielding display and a disciplined bowling helped India restrict Australia to 269/8 in the fourth ODI of the tri-series on Sunday.
Australia, at one stage were well set for a huge total, but to India's delight the host’s innings ended at 269/8 - the highest total of the series so far.
Debutante Peter Forrest (66) and David Hussey (72) did their job well to give Australia a fighting total against India who were handicapped by the absence of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. India, currently following a rotation policy, chose to rest an in-form Sachin.
Australian captain Michael Clarke chose to bat first after winning the toss on a good batting track but the Australian openers failed to give a lightning start.
For a change, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting came up in the order to open the innings alongside David Warner to give room for debutante Forrest.
The move to bring Ponting early back fired initially for the Aussies, at least it appeared so, as he left the crease with 14 runs on the board. He scored just six runs off 14 balls. Ultimately, it proved otherwise as the 26-year-old Forrest went on to complete half-century on his debut. Forrest became 11th Australian to score a fifty on debut.
Both, Forrest and Hussey, lifted the Aussies from the early hiccup and shared a 4th wicket partnership of 98 runs – the highest partnership of the innings. Later, Hussey was part of a 5th wicket partnership along with Daniel Christian, who made 39 off 36 balls.
Meanwhile, Indian bowlers did a fine job to pull things back and restricted the Aussies from making 300. Umesh Yadav kept up the pace and often clocked over 150 kph and was very economical. Fielders raised the already raised bar with some eye-catching performances.