• Australia v India, Champions Trophy warm-up match, Cardiff

India claim 243-run win over Australia

Nagraj Gollapudi in Cardiff
June 4, 2013
India 308 for 6 (Karthik 146*, Dhoni 91) beat Australia 65 (Yadav 5-18, Ishant 3-11) by 243 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Dinesh Karthik raises his bat after reaching a century © AFP

An aggressive all-round display by India, including another match-winning century from Dinesh Karthik and a five-wicket haul from Umesh Yadav, inflicted a stinging 243-run defeat on Australia in the teams' second warm-up match.

The game was virtually over 54 minutes into the chase, when Australia were reduced to 34 for 6 in the face of some fierce fast bowling from Yadav, who picked up a five-wicket haul in his first, and only, spell of five overs. Yadav, who got married last Wednesday, had joined the Indian squad three days later and had been rested in the first warm-up match against Sri Lanka.

Karthik was the star of the match, scoring his second consecutive ton in these warm-up fixtures. His performances have earned him a place in the team for the tournament, as Dhoni confirmed in the end of match presentation. "I think he has earned his place in the side and we'll just have to see who misses out when we play against South Africa," Dhoni said. "I'd like him to play at the top of the order but we'll see."

Matthew Wade, opening ahead of Phil Hughes who opened in the previous match against West Indies, played on, attempting to pull. David Warner's horrific show continued as he went for another expansive stroke against a fuller and moving away delivery, to be caught brilliantly at first slip by R Ashwin. This was Warner's third duck in his last four innings, irrespective of format played.

George Bailey misread the line of a seaming away delivery from Yadav and was bowled; Phil Hughes went for an exuberant pull and played on to his stumps. Mitchell Marsh was unlucky, given caught behind to a delivery that seamed in and kissed his trousers on its way to MS Dhoni. Australia's hopes were extinguished completely when Shane Watson, who had scored a match-winning century against West Indies, attempted to cut Ishant Sharma too close to his body, and played on.

Incidentally, India had also found themselves in a similar pit at 55 for 5. That they managed to avoid slipping on the banana skin like their opponent was solely due to the mature display of batting between Karthik and Dhoni, whose 211-run partnership allowed India to bounce back strongly and dictate the game.

The fact that there was only wicket that fell to a spinner, might give an impression that the pitch was grassy and seamer-friendly. Far from it. Although it had a good bounce and carry, there was not much lateral movement. Unlike the other Indian batsmen, Karthik and Dhoni did not force the issue.

The comfort for them was there were 35 overs remaining to rebuild. Karthik, who hit an unbeaten 106 in the victory against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston, was once again at ease to the pace of the track. As he had done with Virat Kohli, during their crucial 185-run stand against Sri Lanka, Karthik shared the workload with Dhoni. One of the major reasons Australia failed to dominate either of the batsmen was because both men are supremely fast runners, and they rotated strike constantly without worrying about the run rate.

At the start of the batting Powerplay, which Karthik and Dhoni took from the 34th over, India were 137 for 5. They remained focused and picked another 34 runs during those five overs of field restrictions. However, they had started to accelerate steadily before hitting top gear in the final ten. Unbeknownst to Australia, India stole 154 runs in the final 15 overs with an exact 100 coming off the final ten.

Dhoni brought up his half century with a lob over long off against Marsh for six, and then slapped a flat one-bounce boundary, before wrapping the over up with a wristy flick over the point boundary for another six to make it the most expensive over of the match with 22 runs. Under pressure, the Australian bowlers failed to bowl to their fields and erred in their lengths.

Dhoni even hit his patented helicopter stroke over an empty midwicket for a one-bounce four to enter the nineties against James Faulkner. He was not nervous as he went for a straight hit a couple of deliveries later, but failed to clear Mitchell Johnson at long-off.

His departure did not slow Karthik, who got to his second century in as many matches with a mistimed pull against Mitchell Starc, as the top edge flew over the wicketkeeper for a boundary. But later he picked two spectacular fours: a flick past fine leg followed by a chopped drive against yorker-length deliveries from Starc to prove his dominance. Karthik picked 35 runs from 19 deliveries in the final five overs to help India cross the 300-run mark, which at one stage, would have been ridiculous to imagine.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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