Chasing 355 was never ever going to be any easy but the Aussies were expected to run close to the target which surprisingly didn’t happen under lights at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur. Instead it was a comprehensive victory of 99 runs for the homeside as the dew didn not trouble its spinners a lot. The Aussies were never in the hunt after losing Ricky Ponting in the 11th over.
Well the Aussie chase got off to a bad start when Tim Paine had inside edged a flick onto his off stump in the 5th over. In the 10th over, Shane Watson was caught fending Ishant Sharma to first slip and in the next over came the big blow when Praveen Kumar had Ponting falling across to a late inswinger that trapped him on his backpad. With the opposition at 45 for 3, India had nothing much to worry about.
The three early wickets meant that the fourth wicket pair of Cameron White and Michael Hussey had to dig in sometime to form a partnership and then take it from there. Hussey loosened up with a hat-trick of boundaries against Harbhajan but the Turbanator struck soon by having White chip one to mid wicket to break the 4th wicket stand. White (23) fell in the 21st over after adding 48 runs with Hussey. Harbhajan Singh got into a nice bowling partnership with Yuvraj Singh during this period and runs were not coming easily. The dew was under control thanks to the chemical spray which was used early on. Ten overs after White’s dismissal came the next breakthrough for India when Ravindra Jadeja got one to turn back sharply and castle the off stump of Hussey (53 from 60 balls with 6 fours).
Australia slipped to 140 for 5 in the 31st over and the rest of the match was just a formality leading to a big win for the Indians. Jadeja continued to impress with his variations in flight and pace and the left armer went onto capture the wickets of Shaun Marsh (stumped after deceiving him in the air) and then Adam Voges, who dragged a sweep off his pads onto the stumps. Voges was prolonging the game with a 44-ball 36 while Marsh had scored 21. Ashish Nehra and Ishant Sharma returned back taking a wicket each and a run out of Hilfenhaus closed the match in the 49th over. Australia got bowled out for 255 and just managed to avoid a three-figure margin of defeat thanks largely to Hauritz’s unbeaten 30.
The Indian pace trio of Nehra, Praveen and Ishant were upto their best tonight. Among the spinners, Jadeja looked very promising with his 3 for 35 in 6.3 overs. The Man of the Match went obviously to the Indian Skipper MS Dhoni for setting up the grand win with a stupendous knock of 124. The two teams now move onto Delhi for a day night match on the 31st.