Melbourne, Feb 10 : After loosing a couple of quick wickets, skipper MS Dhoni and newcomer Rohit Sharma played patiently to put on a valuable 50 runs partnership and take India to a comfortable five wicket victory over Australia at the MCG. A five-wicket win chasing 160 might seem a comfortable victory but India made hard work of the success at the MCG, grinding out their first triumph of the CB Series with less than five overs to spare.
India was looking down the barrel at 102/5 until Dhoni and Sharma came to rescue and held their nerve to steer India home. This is India's first ODI victory at MCG in 22 years. Earlier, out of form Yuvraj Singh's batting woes continued as he scooped a simple catch into the hands of Hussey after scoring only 3 runs. Sachin Tendulkar put India within sight of their first victory of the CB Series as they reached 3 for 96 after 25 overs at the MCG.
Mitchell Johnson got the important wicket of Sachin Tendulkar as Brett Lee pulled off a stunner to remove the master batsman. Tendulkar scored 44 runs off just 51 balls in an innings where he was denied much of the strike. Brett Lee kept Australia's slim hopes alive when he removed Gautam Gambhir with a steeper ball that flew off the shoulder of the bat to backward point in the 22nd over. However, Australia needed a string of wickets to have any chance of defending 159.
Just when India looked like getting into a comfortable position, Brett Lee struck back for the Aussies as he removed Gautam Gambhir. The southpaw was looking in good touch as he played some delightful strokes all round the wicket before being induced into a false shot by the Aussie speedster.
The experiment of Irfan Pathan being sent in at No.3 did not work out according to plan as he was out LBW to Mitchell Johnson. Pathan made 18 runs. The wicket of Virender Sehwag brought little relief for the Aussies as master batsman Sachin Tendulkar changed gears to lead India's charge in the Melbourne ODI. Tendulkar hit some blistering shots off the Aussie speedsters as India crossed the 50 runs mark in the 9th over.
After opting to bat first, the Australian batsmen could manage only 159 runs at the scoreboard, as the Team India bowlers gave one of their best performances at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Ishant Sharma took four wickets, S Sreesanth took three wickets, Irfan Pathan took two and Harbhajan Singh took one wicket.
Australia included specialist batsman Brad Haddin and fast bowler Stuart Clark and dropped all-rounder James Hopes (hamstring injury) and wrist spinner Brad Hogg from the squad that played against Sri Lanka in Sydney on Friday.
India, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had fielded an unchanged side.