India go down fighting chasing 318; beaten by 18 runs

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Nagpur, Oct 14 (UNI) One of the all-time best opening partners in cricket history, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly turned the clock back for just a little time putting on their 26th century stand as India made a bold bid to chase an imposing target of 318, set by Australia, before going down by 18 runs to the visitors in the sixth one-day international played at the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground here today.

India made a bold bid on the massive target going down fighting, making 299 for seven wickets in their allotted 50 overs in reply to Australia's 317 for eight to lose by 18 runs.

With this win, Australia pocketed the seven-match series for the Future Cup 4-1 with still the final match to be played at Mumbai on October 17.

Earlier, Australia were powered to 317 for eight in the 50 overs, courtesy another scintillating unbeaten 107 of just 88 balls by Andrew Symonds after the Indians had pulled things back a bit in the middle overs.

India began their chase in earnest with the experienced duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly determined to make a strong bid for the winning total with contrasting half-centuries.

After the batting implosion in Vadodara, it was Ganguly who was the first to announce his intent, with a sliced drive off Mitchell Johnson, and a glorious extra-cover drive off Brett Lee. Lee came in for quite some stick, with Tendulkar taking three consecutive fours off him. It mattered little to the capacity crowd that one was a top edge and the other off the bat's outer.

Both men played some lovely shots through the covers, and Tendulkar produced one trademark down the ground as India kept up with the asking rate. When Ganguly charged down the pitch to heave Nathan Bracken for six, Ponting decided that the slow bolwers would be able to steal the flow of runs and brought on Symonds and also delayed taking the third power play.

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