Shahbaz Nadeem took three wickets for 34 and medium-pacer Mohammed Shami took two for 30 as India defended their 243 to beat Australia by 50 runs in the final of the tri-nation A series final in Pretoria on Wednesday. (Match Highlights)
Australia lost half their side for 53 in the 14th over and barely recovered. A 54-run eighth wicket partnership between Tim Paine (47) and Josh Hazlewood (30) defied the Indians but it was Nadeem who spun his magic to ensure India's first win against the Aussies in the championship. Australia were skittled out for 193 in the 47th over.
It was perfect team effort by the Indian bowlers. Suresh Raina, who opened the attack with his fast off-spins, Ishwar Pandey and Parvez Rasool picked up a wicket each as Australia made a hash of the run-chase.
Earlier, India Nathan Coulter-Nile and Hazlewood took three wickets each as India 'A' were bundled out for 243 after opting to bat first.
The Indians did not even manage to bat out their 50 overs, being packed off in 49.2 overs as Coulter-Nile removed India's last man Rasool. This was the second lowest total in the series with Australia A scoring 233 against South Africa A in a group match on August 10.
India A started disastrously with back-to-back wickets of Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara. Sharma was on 6 when trapped lbw by Hazlewood while Pujara, who scored a century in the last match against South Africa A, was dismissed for 1 caught by Aaron Finch off Glenn Maxwell.
Shikhar Dhawan, who looked in bright touch all this while, was then joined in by Dinesh Karthik as India A badly needed a partnership. The pair provided exactly that as both proceeded to get some quick runs.
Majorly targeting Indian-origin Aussie pacer Gurinder Sandhu and Pakistani-origin spinner Fawad Ahmed, Dhawan (62) and Karthik (73) added 108 in 18.2 overs. Both reached their half centuries off identical number of deliveries, 51, as India A recovered from a position of potential disaster to one of strength.
Aussies bowlers had other ideas. Moises Henriques got the big wicket of Dhawan, caught by keeper Paine for 62 off 65. Within 16 runs of his departure, Karthik too fell, clean bowled by Coulter-Nile for 73.
India A then went from 142/2 to 166/5 with Raina's wicket, lbw to Mitchell Marsh.
Ambati Rayudu and Wriddhiman Saha then got together as Indians looked for stability as well as quick runs. The pair batted with grit but could not break free. They added 63 in 12.5 overs but fell in quick succession when trying to up the ante. Rayudu got 34 off 49 before being cleaned up by Hazlewood while Saha got 31 off 41 when Henriques had him caught by Maxwell.
It was all downhill for India after that. After Saha's dismissal at 236, India A batsmen - Rasool, Pandey, Ahmed and Nadeem - managed just 7 more runs.