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Oz play champagne cricket

2009-11-02 19:57

Mohali - Doug Bollinger and Shane Watson shared six wickets as Australia beat India by 24 runs in the fourth one-day international here on Monday to square the seven-match series 2-2.

Left-arm paceman Bollinger took 3-38 while Watson ended with figures of 3-29 to bowl out India for 226 in 46.4 overs after Cameron White top-scored with 62 in Australia's total of 250 all out in 49.2 overs.

The Indians failed to exploit helpful batting conditions in the day-night encounter at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium, with none of their batsmen scoring even a half-century.

Sachin Tendulkar (40) and Virender Sehwag (30) got good starts while Harbhajan Singh (31) slammed five fours and a six in a late assault but the Australians held their nerve in the end to carve out an impressive win.

The world champions, sent in to bat on a placid track, were also indebted to captain Ricky Ponting who struck his third half-century of the series and shared a 64-run stand for the second wicket with Watson (49).

India began their chase in rollicking fashion with Sehwag smacking seven fours off left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson, who was celebrating his 28 birthday.

Sehwag's belligerence was snapped when he turned the face of the bat and ended up splicing Bollinger to Watson at mid-off.

Tendulkar fell seven runs short of completing an unprecedented 17,000 runs in one-dayers when he was adjudged leg before off off-spinner Nathan Hauritz. TV replays however suggested the ball would have missed leg-stump.

Yuvraj Singh (12) was out to a direct throw from Ponting at short cover while captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (26) was caught behind off Bollinger. Earlier, a disciplined effort in the field by the generally sluggish Indians resulted in four run-outs and contained Australia to what looked like a below-par total.

Left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra took 3-37 and also ran out White while Harbhajan was back among the wickets after an indifferent show in the previous games, taking 2-48 off his 10 overs.

Ponting hit five fours and a six in his 59-ball knock for his 73rd half-century in one-day internationals while Michael Hussey chipped in with a fine 40 off 41 balls.

Watson, named man of the match, and Ponting helped Australia regroup after the cheap dismissal of opener Shaun Marsh, trapped leg-before by Nehra for five.

Watson was unlucky to miss out on his 10th half-century, being caught behind off Harbhajan for a 52-ball 49 containing six fours.

The next match will be played in Hyderabad on Thursday.

AFP