Teenager Ishant Sharma scripted a famous Indian win at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after he had got the Australian batsmen rattled by his pace and bounce. Indian bowlers shocked the Aussies this afternoon by bowling them out cheaply to set up an easy victory under lights. Although, India had to chase just 160, the Aussies didn’t give up their fight with the ball until they were kept off by a match winning stand which featured the Indian Captain.
Ricky Ponting’s decision to bat first backfired as his team lost three wickets in the first ten overs itself because of a superb new ball spell from Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth. In the first over itself, Gilchrist was dismissed, for a duck, courtesy of a bad lbw decision from Rudi Koertzen, who failed to hear an inside edge. Sreesanth, who managed to recover from fever was the one taking this wicket. India after that were in for an onslaught from Matt Hayden as the left hander pounded Ishant Sharma for 18 runs. But the teenager didn’t lose his heart and bowled to a plan. Soon Hayden got a thick outside edge after attempting a blistering drive on the up. Hayden’s stay was cut short to a 21-ball 25 which had 5 fours. Ishant then got Ponting and Symonds to nick him off the backfoot with some awkward bounce and seam movement. In between those dismissals, Irfan Pathan joined the party by getting the inform Michael Clarke flicking one in the air to get dismissed.
Australia were struggling at 75 for 5 in about 18 overs when they had lost Symonds. India looked to get spin in the form of Harbhajan and Sehwag as Dhoni decided to give his three quicks a rest. Harbhajan was able to sustain the pressure by removing Brad Haddin, who was frustrated by the slow run flow. Australia slipped to 92 for 6 with just Michael Hussey being the only capable batsman to get them to respectability. The left hander did just that by getting Brett Lee to partner him in an important partnership which was helped by the fact that India had just the four frontline bowlers. Pathan broke what was turning out to be a crucial partnership by finding the edge from Brett Lee (10 from 35). Hussey had added up 63 for the 7th wicket along with Lee. India then didn’t waste much time in getting the remaining three wickets which was shared by Ishant and Sreesanth. Hussey remained helplessly unbeaten on 65 (from 88 balls with 4 fours).
Australia were bundled out for 159 in 43.1 overs. Ishant Sharma picked up his best figures, 9.1-1-38-4. Today, this teenager was red hot in pace and had clocked at nearly 149kmph! Sreesanth with 3 for 31 in 9 overs and Pathan with 2 for 26 in 8 overs complemented him while Harbhajan dried the runs in the middle overs with 1 for 19 in 8 overs. India lost Virender Sehwag early in their chase because of a lovely inswinger from Bracken that got him out lbw. Dhoni then experimented from the dressing room by sending in Irfan Pathan at no.3. Pathan batted nicely along with an aggressive Tendulkar to get some valuable runs. Tendulkar was in prime form as he whacked Brett Lee’s 150kmph deliveries along the ground to collect three fours in one particular over. Johnson broke this partnership by trapping Pathan (18 from 30) infront of the stumps.
The Aussies were then up against Tendulkar and Gambhir, who started to put on a sound partnership and looked in control to get a bonus point for India. However, a nasty short pitch delivery from Brett Lee changed the momentum with Gambhir (21 from 43) fending it to point. India received a big blow when Brett Lee took an amazing catch leaping in the air at mid off to get rid of Tendulkar, who got 44 from 54. India were now in a shaky position at 96 for 4 with an out of form Yuvraj along with the inexperienced Rohit Sharma. Yuvraj’s woes continued when he uppishly drove Stuart Clark to short extra covers which left India at a precarious 102 for 5 in 28.3 overs. Rohit Sharma and Captain MS Dhoni worked hard to get India out of the woods to score these runs safely by the 46th over. Rohit Sharma remained unbeaten on 39 (from 61 balls with 2 fours) and Dhoni with 17 from 54 to put on a match-winning stand of 58.
The Australian bowling and their fielding were good but they didn’t have enough runs to defend. Ishant Sharma, the man responsible for that was deservingly awarded with his first ever Man of the Match.