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manorama

Article Summary   by:Arshad22    
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Brisbane: India created history by notching up their first-ever cricket tri-series title on Australian soil by pipping the world champions by nine runs in a nail-biting second finals which saw fortune fluctuating from one team to the other till the very end.

After scoring a competitive 258 for nine largely built around Sachin Tendulkar''s majestic 91, the Indians held their nerves in the tense dying moments to stop the Australians at 249 with two balls to spare and wrap up the best-of-three finals with a 2-0 margin.

It was a remarkable display by the Indians who not only conquered the mighty Australians in their own den but brought about a happy ending to a turbulent tour, marked by a racism row involving Harbhajan Singh and a series of on-field bickerings.

The Indians had entered the tri-series finals in 1986, 1992 and 2004 but had never managed to win a single match but made amends for their past failures with the thrilling win at the Gabba. Paceman Irfan Pathan dismissed James Hopes in the very last over to bring India''s moment of glory, triggering scenes of wild celebrations among the players as they hugged each other.

The Australians needed 13 runs off Pathan''s last over who tilted the scale in India''s favour by getting rid of Nathan Bracken and Hopes (63) whose lusty hits kept the home team in the hunt.

The young Praveen Kumar was the pick of the Indian bowlers by scalping four wickets for 46 runs in his ten overs while Sreesanth and Pathan chipped in with two wickets each. Australia were hurt by loss of three early wickets and then the dismissals of Matthew Hayden (55) and Andrew Symonds (42) in one over in the middle.

But the sixth wicket pair of Mike Hussey (44) and James Hopes kept them clinging to their hopes till the very end with a 76-run stand. Hussey departed in the 43rd over, caught behind off an inside edge off Sreesanth which was referred to the third umpire, and Australia were still short by 60 runs.

Brett Lee hit two consecutive fours off Praveen Kumar to bring the equation to 37 runs from the final five overs. He was bowled by the UP bowler in the same over and when reesanth claimed Mitchell Johnson (8), caught behind the wickets, the equation of 21 runs from 10 balls looked a tall order.

Hopes then hit a mighty six off the penultimate ball of the second last over to leave the equation with 13 runs required from the final over. The hosts were rocked by Praveen Kumar early in the innings when the UP medium-pacer picked up two wickets in his first two overs and later claimed Michael Clarke for 17 to reduce the hosts to 32 for 3 in the ninth over.

Ponting''s woes continued unabated as the Australian skipper pulled a catch to Yuvraj Singh at mid-on. Praveen also appeared to have got Clarke plumb in front of stumps but his appeal was over-ruled.

He could not be denied his scalp for long though as he hit the stumps of Clarke when the latter aimed a pull off a short ball that never rose. Hayden was let off early in his innings when he edged Sreesanth behind the stumps and Dhoni flung himself in front of Sachin Tendulkar who was perfectly poised to accept the chance.
Published: March 04, 2008   
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