Sydney, Mar 2 : Sachin Tendulkar scored a brilliant century, his first in Australia and 42nd in ODIs, as India defeated Australia by six wickets in the first final of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Master-blaster, who paced his knock to perfection, completed his priceless ton in just 106 balls sprinkled with eight sweetly timed boundaries. Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 117 and kept Indian run-chase on track.
An opening partnership of 50 was the ideal launching pad, and even three wickets fell fairly quickly thereafter, Tendulkar's unbeaten 117 took India to victory.
Chasing a 240-run target, India were off to a confident start in the first final against Australia.
A sturdy innings from Matthew Hayden, an equally good show by the Indian bowlers, set up the first final of the CB Series on Sunday.
Australia scored 239 for 8 in 50 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat.
Andrew Symonds and Mathew Hayden struck a 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket in just 17.2 overs, but Symonds' dismissal gave the much-needed respite to the Indians.
Adam Gilchrist (7), Ricky Ponting (1) and Michael Clarke (4) - all fell cheaply as Australia struggled at 29 for 3 from seven overs.
Initially, Hayden was at his aggressive best and raced past the 6,000-run mark in one-day internationals as he got off the mark with a boundary straight down the ground.
Harbhajan Singh dismissed Symonds, who steadied the ship with Hayden, for 31 at midwicket.
Harbhajan had been struggling to get his line and pace right before that dismissal, but his confidence surged once he had a wicket and the rest of his spell was impressive as he finished with 2 for 38.
Praveen Kumar bagged the second wicket in his opening spell when Australia captain Ricky Ponting played on for one.
Ishant Sharma dismissed Michael Clarke for four, caught by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Replays suggested that the batsmen had missed the ball.
Ishant Sharma had 1 for 32 from eight overs, but was forced from the field by an apparent hand injury.
India sprung a selection surprise, naming leg-spinner Chawla for his first match of the series at the expense of pace bowler Munaf Patel.
Australia recalled Hayden after he was rested in Friday's match against Sri Lanka, with Brad Haddin and the unlucky Stuart Clark missing out again for the home side.
Never in the 30-year-old history of the triangular series have Indians managed even a solitary win in the finals against the hosts.
India's three previous experiences -- in 1985-86, 1991-92 and 2003-04 -- had resulted in straight drubbings but Australia's slipshod form this season promises a turn for the better for the Indians.
Story first published: Sunday, March 2, 2008, 18:19 [IST]
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