x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Australia claim narrow win over India

Australia's bowlers held their nerve in a tight finish to edge a four-run victory over India in the first one-day international in Vadodara.

Australia's bowlers held their nerve in a tight finish to edge a four-run victory over India in the first one-day international in Vadodara. Ricky Ponting (74), opener Tim Paine (50), Cameron White (51) and Michael Hussey - with a fluent 73 off just 54 deliveries - helped Australia post a commanding 292 for eight. Gautam Gambhir responded with a fine 68 and pieced together useful partnerships with Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli, but India were still left with a mountain to climb. Harbhajan Singh (49) and Praveen Kumar (40no) then put on 83 in quick time for the seventh wicket to bring India within range of what had looked a highly unlikely victory, but Australia's bowlers eventually prevailed as the hosts fell just short on 288 for eight. Ponting won the toss only to lose opener Shane Watson lbw to one that seamed into him from Ashish Nehra in the second over. The Australia captain steadied the ship as he and Paine had some minor slices of luck in a 97-run stand which ended when the wicketkeeper was caught behind off Ishant Sharma. Ponting went lbw to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, and the tempo fell as White and Hussey began the process of rebuilding. White eventually fell in the first over after the batting powerplay was taken - and Australia seemed in danger of losing their way, with Adam Voges and James Hopes falling cheaply. Only 33 came from the powerplay - but Hussey superbly accelerated at the death, hitting Praveen for 18 runs and helping Australia to a decent total. Ishant sent down an excellent final over, claiming Hussey with the first ball and bowling Brett Lee with the last and conceding only one run in between to keep Australia under 300. India's chase stuttered at the start, openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar falling cheaply. Gambhir was then joined by Kohli in a rebuilding phase until left-arm spinner Voges struck in his first over to remove the latter and end a stand of 58. Dhoni and Gambhir put on 64 for the fourth wicket. But the left-hander was trapped in front by Mitchell Johnson, who quickly got rid of Suresh Raina too - and then Dhoni holed out off Lee. India needed an improbable 92 from the last 10 overs, but Harbhajan and Praveen kept them in it with a stream of boundaries. Peter Siddle went for 13 in the 48th over, and Watson disappeared for 20 in the 49th. Nine was required from the final over, but Siddle bowled Harbhajan and conceded only four runs as Australia sneaked to victory.

* PA Sport