Crucial half centuries from Ravindra Jadeja and Praveen Kumar took India to a competitive total of 170 in the sixth ODI at the Nehru Stadium in Guwahati. India were earlier in a disastrous position at 27 for 5 and getting 170 in the end was something totally unexpected.
The Aussie batsmen have quite a task on their hands as the wicket is staying low mostly and some are bouncing a lot unexpectedly. There is good amount of turn for the spinners which is India’s strength with the trio of Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Yuvraj Singh. Strokemaking seems very difficult too because of the double pace in the pitch.
India took a daring decision to bat first on a damp wicket under humid conditions. They lost two wickets in the first over itself and in the 6th over, Tendulkar patted a return catch to Bollinger looking to work on the up. Yuvraj Singh made it 24 for 4 after a bizzare dismissal, getting hit on the pad and the ball taking the back of the bat and rolling onto the stumps round his legs. Raina quickly got out flicking one in the air to mid wicket.
With half of the side back in the comfort of the dressing room, MS Dhoni along with Ravindra Jadeja kept his head down and just occupy the crease. There was plenty of luck for both batsmen which they needed to survive on this wicket. The pair took India well past the 50-run mark before MS Dhoni ran out of lucky to be given out lbw to a ball that hit his backpad outside the line of off stump and not coming back enough either. The Indian Skipper scratched around for 77 balls to come up with 24. Harbhajan Singh left the park without a fight to score the third duck of the innings along with Gambhir and Raina.
Jadeja at his end continued to be sensible and he found a fresh wave of energy coming at the other end from Praveen Kumar. The two batsmen stretched India past the three figure mark and got some valuable boundaries as the innings approached to a close. Jadeja after scoring 57 from 103 balls (with 6 fours) eventually miscued a pull off Bollinger in the 45th over which was also the last over of the batting powerplay. It was a superb 74-run partnership for the 8th wicket between Jadeja and Praveen Kumar. Watson cleaned up the no.10 and no.11 and India folded to 170 with two overs unused. Praveen Kumar was left stranded with 54 from 51 balls (7 fours and a straight six onto the sightscreen from McKay.
For the Aussies, Mitchell Johnson provided the inroads taking three wickets. Another left arm quick got rich rewards for his hard work in this series and that was New South Walesman Doug Bollinger who picked up 5 for 35 including 4 maidens. Bollinger got a breakthrough every time he was brought in or back by Ponting.