India let cricket do the talking

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India bring the curtains down on a long, hard, controversial tour with a thrilling win in the CB Series finals.

Updated: December 01, 2008 08:03 IST
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New Delhi:

Praveen Kumar and Sachin Tendulkar delivered telling performances as India registered one of their most famous one-day wins at the Gabba on Tuesday.

Beating Australia by nine runs in a thrilling second final of the CB Series, India brought to an end a long, hard, bitter and controversial tour of Australia on a winning note.

Having chosen to bat on a pitch that offered some grip, MS Dhoni's men racked up 258 thanks mainly to Tendulkar's 91 in what could be his final appearance in an international in Australia.

Australia got off to a poor start, thanks to Praveen's incisive first spell in which he took three wickets. A late charge by James Hopes kept the home team within sight of a win. But with 13 to get from the last over from Irfan Pathan, Hopes holed out to Piyush Chawla at mid-wicket to give India their first win in the final edition of the annual CB Series.

Getting the combination right

Having won the Sydney final on Sunday, Dhoni did most things right on Tuesday, including calling the toss and reading the pitch. Against popular theory, he retained Chawla in the side while bringing in Sreesanth for the injured Ishant Sharma.

Tendulkar and Robin Uthappa provided India the dream start - 94 in just over 20 overs, which set things up for later overs. India looked good for 280 at the stage. The highest total ever chased at the Gabba is 284.

However, Uthappa, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Tendulkar and Rohit all holed out one by one. It left India at 259 - twenty runs short, even by a conservative estimate.

Praveen shines, and revenge for Bhajji

Praveen, the Uttar Pradesh all-rounder from a family of wrestlers landed the first cuts on Australia. He got Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting again like he did in the final in Sydney.

A third wicket in Michael Clarke followed. Matthew Hayden had a reprieve, dropped off Sreesanth by Dhoni. He and Andrew Symonds did the repair work, until Harbhajan delivered the deathblow in one over.

Symonds called Hayden for a single, refused, and Yuvraj Singh swooped down on the ball from cover to run Hayden out. Two balls later, the off-spinner trapped Symonds leg-before and India had one hand on the trophy.

Michael Hussey and then Hopes kept Australia's hopes alive. Even with the run rate mounting, Hopes kept finding the boundary and pinched twos and threes.

Twenty runs were needed in eight balls when Hopes slammed Sreesanth over midwicket for six. He then took a single and took strike for the final over by Pathan.

Pathan, to his credit, bowled a really tight over, keeping it full and offering no width. After he had been tonked all over the park, it was a remarkable finish by the left-arm seamer. It brought back memories of the Twenty20 final where Dhoni had trusted a visibly nervous Joginder Sharma to bowl the final over against Pakistan.

Dhoni has a dig at Australian media

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lashed out at the Australian media for their unrelenting attempt to pin down Harbhajan Singh all summer after his side had won their first-ever tri-series title here on Tuesday.

"Tomorrow we would be gone. They now need someone to replace him (to keep themselves occupied)," said a calm Indian captain.

"Sometimes it wasn't clear if it was only Harbhajan or Michael Jackson (they were covering)," Dhoni said after India beat the Australians by nine runs to win the best-of-three finals by a 2-0 margin.

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