Australia ease into finals
Half-centuries from David Warner, David Hussey and Matthew Wade helped Australia progress into the Commonwealth Bank Series finals with a 87-run victory over India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
After the hosts had slumped to 26 for two, Warner struck 68 from 66 balls before Hussey and Wade shared in a stand of 94 to set a solid platform.
Despite only making 47 runs from the last 10 overs after Virender Sehwag’s 3-43, Australia, without injured captain Michael Clarke, had more than enough on the board at 252 for nine.
India were never in the hunt after slipping to 104 for six and, despite some late resistance from Ravichandran Ashwin and Irfan Pathan, they were bowled out for 165 inside 40 overs, with Ben Hilfenhaus, stand-in captain Shane Watson and Xavier Doherty claiming two wickets apiece.
Praveen Kumar made an excellent start with two wickets in the first seven overs; Watson mis-timing a pull straight to Umesh Yadav at mid-on before Craig Forrest played on.
Mike Hussey followed as Australia slipped to 57 for three, the veteran run out after a late call from the attacking Warner, who hit seven fours and added 50 for the fourth wicket with David Hussey.
However, Warner then top-edged Jadeja and Suresh Raina, running backwards, held onto the catch despite crashing into the onrushing Irfan, with the pair requiring treatment.
David Hussey, running a quick single, sparked a moment of controversy in the 24th over when he threw out a hand to block a throw that was heading for the stumps.
The India players appealed for obstruction of the field, but the third umpire deemed Hussey was defending himself from being hit.
After his reprieve, the right-hander and Wade both passed 50 in a 19-over stand to take their side to 200. But India hit back with three quick wickets as Australia faltered in the latter stages of their innings.
Wade and Hussey were caught behind by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Yadav for 56 and 54 respectively in the space of three overs, while Clint McKay was stumped off Sehwag.
Sehwag had Brett Lee caught at deep midwicket before Dan Christian holed out to Jadeja for 24 at long-on on the final ball of the innings.
India’s reply started poorly, Hilfenhaus claiming a return catch to dismiss Sehwag and Warner running out Sachin Tendulkar.
Kohli and Gautam Gambhir responded with a stand of 44 until they fell to McKay and Watson.
Raina provided Watson with his second scalp, edging behind to Wade, and Jadeja nicked to the Australia skipper at slip to give Christian his sole victim.
Dhoni, given a life on two, scratched around, making an uncharacteristic 14 from 49 balls before being trapped in front by the returning Hilfenhaus, but Ashwin and Irfan threatened to edge India closer with a rapid stand of 30.
The pair then fell in the space of an over. Ashwin, who top-scored with 26, found Watson at mid-on following a leading edge off Doherty and Irfan’s run-a-ball 22, including two maximums, was ended by Lee.
Doherty completed the convincing victory, bowling Praveen and earning Australia a bonus point in the process.