CB series: Tendulkar guides India to 258

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{image-sachin latest_04032008.jpg news.oneindia.in}Gabba, March 4: Electing to bat, India made 258 for 9 in 50 overs against Australia in the 2nd final of the CB series at Gabba.

Led by master batsman Sachin Tendulkar (91), India recovered from a late middle order slump to reach a competitive total of 9 for 258 from their allotted 50 overs. India made a fine start to reach 94 without loss in the 21st over, before recalled paceman Stuart Clark drew a leading edge from Robin Uthappa (30) to find James Hopes rushing in from the deep. Tendulkar formed formidable partnerships with Gautam Gambhir (15), Yuvraj Singh (38) and skipper MS Dhoni (36) and appeared to be cruising to a second consecutive one-day century after guiding India to victory in game one on Sunday night.

But the veteran right-hander was ultimately brought undone nine runs short of his ton by the part-time spin of Michael Clarke.
Tendulkar misjudged the flight of the delivery and spooned the ball to mid-on where Australian skipper Ricky Ponting showed superb athleticism in taking a diving catch at full stretch.

With India looking dominant at 3 for 200 after 38 overs the hosts managed to wrest the ascendancy, claiming the tourists' final six wickets for just 58 runs.

Clarke's unpredictable left-arm spin returned 3 for 52 from 10 overs, while the economical Nathan Bracken was vital in the latter part of the innings to finish with 3 for 31 from nine overs.

Bracken's scalps included Dhoni, Irfan Pathan (12) and Praveen Kumar (7), with the largely ineffective Brett Lee (1 for 58) picking up Harbhajan Singh for 3.
Lee was brought on to restrict the flow of runs late in the innings, but the ploy backfired as India's lower order took to the Allan Border medallist with reckless abandon.

Earlier, India's opening partnership threatened to put Australia to the sword in a must-win game for the hosts before the recalled Clark found Uthappa's measure at a key point in the innings.

Gambhir was the next man out, picking out Mitchell Johnson on the boundary after going on the offensive against the bowling of Clarke.

The left-handed Yuvraj looked to frustrated the hosts with another strong partnership with danger man Tendulkar, but his run-a-ball 38 came to an end when he whipped an Andrew Symonds' long hop to the waiting hands of Matthew Hayden on the deep mid-wicket boundary

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