Mon, Oct 15, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Symonds innings helps Australia seal series win

AFP , NAGPUR, INDIA

Andrew Symonds hit a blistering unbeaten century to set up Australia's thrilling 18-run win over India in the sixth one-day international yesterday.

The victory helped Australia clinch the seven-match series 4-1, with one more game to go in Mumbai on Wednesday. The opener was abandoned due to rain.

The 32-year-old Symonds smashed an unbeaten 88-ball 107 to propel Australia to an imposing 317-8 before left-arm spinner Brad Hogg picked a haul of 4-49 to restrict India to 299-7.

The Indians put up a valiant fight, riding on blazing knocks by Sourav Ganguly (86), Sachin Tendulkar (72) and Robin Uthappa (44), but ultimately ran out of steam.

Needing 56 runs off the last five overs, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (26) and Uthappa unleashed a flurry of shots but Mitchell Johnson (2-39) dismissed them both in one over to douse the Indian challenge.

The Indians started their chase confidently, with Tendulkar and Ganguly combining for their 26th century stand together and the best start in the series for either side.

Tendulkar was in sublime form, hitting nine fours and a six in his entertaining run-a-ball 72. He reached his record 85th one-day half-century with a huge six over midwicket off Hogg.

Ganguly reached his 50 in similar fashion, hitting the same bowler for a six to bring up his 72nd half-century.

Their stand was broken when James Hopes had Tendulkar stumped by Adam Gilchrist in the 25th over.

Irfan Pathan (29), promoted up the order as pinch hitter, joined in the run fest, hitting a four and a six off Nathan Bracken's over before lofting Symonds over the ropes.

But Pathan's dismissal in the 33rd over triggered off a collapse with Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh (six) and Rahul Dravid (seven) departing in quick succession.

Earlier, man of the match Symonds shrugged off the controversy over his alleged racial abuse by Indian fans in the previous game at Vadodara to smash nine fours and four mighty sixes.

Dropped on two by Shanthakumaran Sreesanth with whom he has had a running feud since the start of the series, Symonds rallied the middle order with two half-century stands.

He put on 75 runs for the fifth wicket with Brad Haddin (25) and another 90 runs for the sixth with Hopes (39) off just 58 balls.

He reached his sixth one-day century with a four and jumped in the air while pumping his fist to a standing ovation from the Australian dressing room.

Gilchrist, with a 47-ball 51, and Ricky Ponting (49) also made valuable contributions after the visitors elected to bat.

The butter-fingered Indians dropped three catches and allowed the visitors to slam 102 runs in the last 10 overs.

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