VB Series: Aussies thrash India by 7 wkts

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/v/vbseries.jpg' class='caption'> The Australians have won the first final of the VB Tri Series against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground by 7 wickets.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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The Australians have won the first final of the VB Tri Series against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground by 7 wickets. A stimulating partnership between Captain Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden made sure that the hosts did not collapse under pressure like the Indian side. Australia showed that they were in form to bludgeon the Indians and made the target with 9.5 overs to spare with the loss of just three wickets. Hayden was finally dismissed, caught and bowled by Lakshmipathy Balaji for 50. But he had already done the damage, with a 139 run partnership for the second wicket. Ponting was sent packing for 88 but that too could do little to save the tottering Indian pacers. Adam Gilchrist earlier thrashed the Indian bowling attack, hitting 38 runs off 20 balls, before holing out to Sachin Tendulkar on the boundary off Balaji. The hosts had bowled out India for 222, with Hemang Badani top scoring with 60. Bret Lee, Jason Gillespie and Ian Harvey took two wickets each for the home team. Agarkar-Badani revival The Indian innings got off to a disastrous start with a disappointing performance by the famed Indian batting line up. By the first few overs it was clear that the world champions were in charge. The Aussies had taken a firm grip of the match, bundling out half the Indian side for just 75 runs. But Ajit Agarkar took the fight to the World Champions, scoring a run-a-ball half-century, with two big hits and four boundaries. He put on a 102 runs partnership with Hemang Badani for the seventh wicket, before being dismissed for 53 off 62, spooning a Mathew Clarke delivery to Bret Lee. Irfan Pathan struck a huge six to take the visitors past the 200 mark in the 45th over but was run out for 19 runs. Badani also reached his half century as India suffered another run out, that off Anil Kumble on 2. Lakshmipathy Balaji was the last man dismissed on 2, bowled by Gillespie, as the Indians were bundled out in the 49th over. Batting collapse Earlier in the day, Indian openers failed to deliver as the team won the toss and elected to bat. The visitors lost two wickets with just 14 runs on the board after six overs. The first to go was Virender Sehwag, as he spooned a Jason Gillespie delivery to Gilchrist on three, in the third over. Two overs later, a out of sorts Sachin Tendulkar was bowled by a Lee snorter for 8. Skipper Saurav Ganguly was dismissed for 6, caught brilliantly by Gilchrist off Ian Harvey in the 20th over. His deputy Rahul Dravid struggled for his 29 ball 12, before edging a Harvey delivery to Mathew Hayden. VVS Laxman offered the only bit of resistance for a run a ball 24, before he was caught by Andrew Symonds off Brad Williams. Yuvraj Singh was out for a 20 ball 21, caught by Adam Gilchrist off Bret Lee as the men in blue slumped to 75 for 6 in the 22nd over. Statistical pointers All three finals of VB tri series are day and night games, and India might want to bat out Australia. Statistics from the last 20 day night games suggest a definite advantage for the teams batting first. In Australia, the side batting first has won 14 of the last 20 day and night games, making the percentage as high as 70 per cent. Final chokers? But the series so far has been one sided. India have won just one out of four league matches of the series against Australia. And worse still, they have beaten the World Champions only twice of seven times in any tournament final. The two wins came in Sharjah, with the last one being operation desert storm when Sachin Tendulkar celebrated his birthday with a century and the man of the match award to give India the Coca-Cola Cup Trophy. Since then the two finals that stand out the most for the men in blue are the World Cup and the TVS Cup final—one remembered for Zaheer Khan losing his composure and the other for VVS Laxman dropping catches. Teams India: Saurav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, V V S Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Hemang Badani, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble, Laxmipathy Balaji. Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Ian Harvey, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Brad Williams.

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