Kochi, Oct 2 (UNI) With the rain God relenting and a full match becoming a reality amidst bleak forecast, Australia forced a 1-0 lead in the seven-match ODI series, defeating India by 84 runs in the second game at a packed Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here today.
As the Indian batsmen fell like nine pins, only skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the last to get out, and Robin Uthappa came good.
Dhoni made 58 of 88 balls with two sixes and two fours, while Uthappa scored a breezy 41 with two sixes of just 31 balls.
India reached the respectable 200 run mark, thanks only to their skipper Dhoni who scripted two substantial partnerships -- first with a 41 runs stand with his predecessor Dravid who himself made 31 and then last wicket partnership with Sreesanth for 32 runs.
It was a full house at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here as Dhoni won the toss and put Australia into bat. However, the Aussies started on a grim note, losing their stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist for a duck and then Brad Hogg for three.
But once again they made a scintillating recovery and made a match-winning total of 306 runs in their alloted 50 overs, although today there were two scriptwriters and interestingly it was not in form batsman Michael Clarke, instead it was all-rounder Andrew Symonds and middle-order batsman Brad Haddin, who put on a 108-run stand for the fifth wicket. Interestingly, both of them finished their innings on an identical 87 though Haddin was not ou.
Earlier in the day, opener Mathew Hayden gave the much needed momentum to the Aussie innings scoring 75 runs and sharing a 94-run stand for the fourth wicket with Symonds.
While bowling, Australia struck three quick blows to India dismissing both the openers Gautam Gambhir (7), Sachin Tendulkar (16) and Yuvraj Singh (10) in the space of 11.4 overs to reduce their score to 79 for 3.
Left-arm pacer Michell Johnson (1-46), Stuart Clark (2-14), James Hopes (1-32), Michael Clarke (2-35) and left-arm spinner Brad Hogg (3-40 ) did the star turn with the ball for Australia.