A resurgent Indian side came good enough to outdo Australia with a stylish 9-run victory in the 2nd Finals of CB Series, thus sealing one of the finest series wins registered abroad in the history of sub-continental cricket. It was more than two decades ago that India rejoiced in the glory of an ODI series victory on the Australian soil, which added special value to the latest Brisbane win. Going through nothing less than a roller-coaster of a tournament, India indeed rose to the occasion to win the series hands-down with 2-0 lead, thus establishing its cricketing dominance against an indomitable Aussie side.
Getting off to a flyer after winning the toss and choosing to bat earlier in the day, India yet again managed to get itself in needless trouble with a string of wickets collapsing towards the end of innings, combined with an inexplicably restricted run-rate, despite having wickets in hand for a greater part of the innings. It was Hopes yet again, who provided Australia the initial break by lapping up a mid-off catch off Clark to get rid of Uthappa. Gambhir was destined for a smaller stint on the crease this time around, as Tendulkar remained seemingly unfazed at the other end to take things ahead at his own pace. It was Yuvraj next, who pitched in well with the Little Maestro to build up a half-century partnership helped by run-a-ball 38-run knock before Symonds got the better of him. The skipper once again was made to anchor the innings towards the end when Tendulkar proved unfortunate enough to miss out on what would have been yet another magnificent century effort. The Indian lower middle order and tail, however, fizzled out yet again to restrict India to a cricket score of 258 off 9 wickets in the allotted quota of 50 overs.
Hoping to begin with a flourish, Australia instead ran into an in-form Praveen Kumar, who clipped away the top order in no time to make hosts feel the heat too early on. It was the deadly combo of Hayden and Symonds, who came to Australia's rescue with a solid 89-run partnership. The stand was finally broken by a strategic run-out effort from Yuvraj and Harbhajan to see off the threat of Hayden followed by Symonds' wicket within a couple of deliveries. With the Australian chase almost going haywire after losing 5 wickets for 123 runs, Hussey and Hopes made the most of it and almost saw their side home with a commendable 76-run partnership under immense pressure. Desperate to make its way back in the game, India found the much-needed breakthrough in the form of Hussey's wicket. Despite every advantage being afforded to the Indian side, Hopes befittingly provided the last ray of hope for Australia with one bludgeoning knock to remember which almost saw Australia home. It was, however, one last effective spell from Pathan which proved too much for Hopes, who fell just a couple of deliveries short of completing the innings, resulting in a memorable Indian win on the Kangarooland. The cherry on the Indian cake, went to Praveen Kumar, who received a well-deserved Man of the Match award. Australia, however, could take some solace in Nathan Bracken being chosen as Man of the Series for some exotic bowling stuff from the speedster. With celebrations galore all around, now the million dollar question which remains to be answered is, that, how long is this festive cricketing season going to last for India?
Last Updated on 24 August 2012