Chandigarh, Oct 7: India piled a competitive total of 291 runs against Australia in the fourth one-day international of the Future Cup series in Chandigarh on Monday.
Earlier, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat in the crucial crunch game. The hosts were off to a sedate start as openers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were bogged down with the Aussie pace attack.
After escaping a deathly inside edge off the fourth ball of the third over, Tendulkar was at a shabby score of four runs after 10 overs. With runs coming in at snail's pace, each boundary seemed like a purging effort by the Indians.
The crowd, who badly needed to be woken from their slumber, found entertainment from the most unexpected quarters. Each head turned up, not to say a little prayer for the home team, but to watch a fleet of aircrafts roar above the ground. Alas, something roared, even if it was not the preponderantly turbaned crowd!
Sourav's efforts saw an end when James Hopes removed him in the last ball of the 20th over. India were 91/1 as the southpaw returned to pavilion for 41.
Tendulkar, who piled a costly half-century off 91 balls, found support in Yuvraj Singh as they compiled a 83-run partnership. But the latter planted an easy catch to Ponting, at extra cover, to return for 39.
Just as the Indians became hopeful of Sachin's century, he was run out at 79.
New Daddy, Nathan Bracken, who made is maiden appearance in the series, packed off Rahul Dravid for a cheap score of 13.
Robin Uthappa's late flourish steered India to a good total after a shoddy start by the stalwarts. He hit six boundaries during his 16-minute stay at the crease. Dhoni completed his half-century with a six off the last ball of the innings.
Sourav Ganguly returned to the Indian squad in place of an injured Gautam Gambhir while temperamental fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth was left out. India also dropped wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthick while bringing in left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, who will be playing his first international in more than a year.
Ganguly was part of the team for the first one-dayer in Bangalore, which was abandoned due to rain, but missed out on the next two due to a hamstring injury.
Australians brought fast bowler Nathan Bracken in place of Stuart Clark in the only change from the side that won the third one-dayer in Hyderabad.
Australia lead the series 2-0. The remaining three matches of the series will be played in Baroda, Nagpur and Mumbai.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Robin Uthappa, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Rudra Pratap Singh, Zaheer Khan.
Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Nathan