Brisbane, Mar.4 : Thanks to a workmanlike 91 by Sachin Tendulkar, India today posted a competitive 258 for the loss of nine wickets in their 50 overs against Australia in the second of the three Commonwealth Bank tri-series finals being played at the Gabba here.
In reply to the Indian total, Australia got off to a not so happy start with wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist being snared for two runs and Ricky Ponting snared for one of the bowling of 21-year-old Praveen Kumar. Mathew Hayden and Michael Clarke were at the crease with four and nil in Australia's eight for two score.
Earlier, Australia gave themselves a fair shot at forcing India to play the third final in Adelaide, by restricting the Indian batters in the final ten overs.
Not for the first time, has India relied on Tendulkar's experience to provide them with a decent scores. Till the 39th over, it looked as if the Indians would post a total closer to the 300 mark, but a flurry of wickets between the 45 and 50th overs put paid to such hopes.
Apart from Tendulkar, the others to score were Yuvraj Singh with 38, Mahendra Singh Dhoni with 36 and Robin Uthappa with 30. For the Australians, part-time spinner Michael Clarke snared three wickets, while in form pacer Nathan Bracken came up with two wickets.
The last time Australia surrendered back-to-back finals was 1983-84 and 1984-85, against West Indies, and a loss today would be a chastening blow.