India 'A' crush Australia 'A' by 50 runs to lift tri-series trophy
India 'A' today clinched the cricket tri-series title with a comfortable 50-run victory over Australia 'A' in a low-scoring final, relying on a clinical display by their bowlers.
India A avenged their double defeat against Australia in the league stage by winning the all important tri-series final at the LC de Villiers Oval here Wednesday.
Opting to bat on a placid strip, India could manage only 243 in 49.2 overs with Shikhar Dhawan (65) and Dinesh Karthik (73) being the notable contributors.
The Indian bowlers, who had been woefully out of sorts in the tournament, then managed to bowl out the Aussies for 193 in 46.3 overs to guide the team to victory at the LC de Villiers Oval.
It was India's fifth 'A' tournament victory since the concept was introduced in 1994.
The 'law of averages' finally caught up with the Australians in a final that turned out to be an anti-climax of sorts with the Indians successfully avenging their twin defeats at the round robin league stage.
Speedster Mohammed Shami (2/30) dealt initial blows to Australia 'A' and the likes of Shahbaz Nadeem (3/34 in 10 overs), Perveez Rasool (1/30 in 10 overs), Ishwar Chand Pandey (1/47 in 8 overs), Suresh Raina (1/33 in 10 overs) kept the Aussie batsmen under tight leash.
Shami started by cleaning up rival skipper Aaron Finch (20) who went for a wild slog after hitting the bowler for a big six in an earlier over.
Left-hander Shaun Marsh (11), who has had a fine tournament, was Shami's second victim as he hit a length ball straight to Indian captain Cheteshwar Pujara at mid-on.
Glenn Maxwell (12) started with a six and four but was sent back by part-time off-spinner Raina, who opened the bowling alongside Shami.
Maxwell tried to slog him past mid-wicket but was holed out to Pujara as Australia were reduced to 50 for three.
It soon became 53 for five when left-hander Nick Maddinson edged one to Raina at first slip off Pandey's bowling and Mitchell Marsh failed to beat a Rohit Sharma throw as 'keeper Wriddhiman Saha whipped off the bails in a flash.
Moises Henriques (20) lofted Dhawan for couple of sixes but was sent back by Nadeem trying to cut one that went to Raina at slips. Nathan Coultier-Nile tried to give Nadeem the charge as Saha effected a smart stumping.
At 88 for seven, there was no looking back for the Indians but Josh Hazlewood (30) and Tim Paine (47) fiought hard to add 54 runs for the eighth wicket before Hazlewood was stumped by Saha off Nadeem's bowling.
Paine was then cleaned up by Rasool as India finished off the match when Fawad Ahmed was out due to a horrible mix-up with Gurinder Sandhu.
Earlier, despite half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan (62) and Dinesh Karthik (73), India failed to cross 250-run-mark due to the failure of the middle-order as the last five wickets fell for only 14 runs.
India were decently placed at 229 for five at the end of 44th over before the slide began.
Australian seamers Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Henriques, who have troubled the Indian batsmen throughout this series again did a commendable job during the death overs.
Hazlewood (3/31 from 10 overs) and Coulter-Nile (3/35 from 9.2 overs) were the pick of the bowlers with three wickets each, while all-rounder Henriques (2/47 from 10 overs) kept things tight in the middle overs.
Dhawan, who scored 248 in the last match against South Africa 'A' again started off well but managed only 62 off 65 balls -- certainly far less than the benchmark he has set for himself. His innings contained nine boundaries with some flowing cover drives and a few delightful strokes on the on-side as well.
Karthik, who hasn't got a decent hit in the tourney so far was impressive in his 75-ball-73 which had 10 boundaries. Karthik-Dhawan duo put on a 108-run stand for the third wicket from only 18.2 overs as they helped consolidate the team's position after they were reduced to 34 for two at one stage losing Rohit Sharma and skipper Cheteshwar Pujara.
Just when it seemed that India would post another 300-plus total, Henriques induced an outside edge from Dhawan's blade which was taken by glovesman Tim Paine.
Karthik was then castled by Coultier-Nile as he played away from his body. Ambati Rayudu (34) and Wriddhiman Saha (31), playing his first match in the tournament, shared a 63-run stand together for the sixth wicket stand but they could never dominate the bowling as it took them almost 13 overs.
The squad, comprising members of the senior team and fringe players, now plays two unofficial Tests against South Africa A, who were the third team in the one-day series.
The A team's tour was seen as ideal preparation for players ahead of the India tour of South Africa later in the year, but flat pitches in the tri-series have given them little taste of the conditions they would be expecting in the three Tests and seven One-day Internationals starting Nov 21.
R Sharma lbw b Hazlewood 6
S Dhawan c Paine b Henriques 62
C Pujara c Finch b Maxwell 1
D Karthik b Coulter-Nile 73
S Raina lbw b M Marsh 17
A Rayudu b Hazlewood 34
W Saha c Maxwell b Henriques 31
P Rasool c Hazlewood b Coulter-Nile 5
I Pandey b Coulter-Nile 1
M Shami b Hazlewood 3
S Nadeem not out 0
Extras (lb3, w6, nb1) 10
Total (all out; 49.2 overs) 243
Fall of wickets 1-20, 2-34, 3-142, 4-158, 5-166, 6-229, 7-236, 8-238, 9-243
Bowling Josh Hazlewood 10-1-31-3, Gurinder Sandhu 6-0-50-0, Glenn Maxwell 5-1-24-1, Nathan Coulter-Nile 9.2-1-35-3 , Fawad Ahmed 6-0-42-0 ,
Moises Henriques 10-0-47-2 , Mitchell Marsh 3-0-11-1
A Finch b Mohammed Shami 20
S Marsh c Pujara b Mohammed Shami 11
N Maddinson c Raina b Pandey 7
G Maxwell c Pujara b Raina 12
M Marsh run out 2
M Henriques c Raina b Nadeem 20
T Paine b Parvez Rasool 47
Coulter-Nile st Saha b Nadeem 5
J Hazlewood st Saha b Nadeem 30
G Sandhu not out 21
F Ahmed run out 9
Extras (lb6, w3) 9
Total (all out in 46.3 overs) 193
Fall of wickets 1-30, 2-33, 3-50, 4-52, 5-53, 6-76, 7-88, 8-142, 9-176, 10-193
Bowling Mohammed Shami 7.3-1-30-2 , Suresh Raina 10-1-33-1, Ishwar Pandey 8-1-47-1, Shahbaz Nadeem 10-1-34-3, Shikhar Dhawan 1-0-13-0 ,
Parvez Rasool 10-1-30-1