Badani leads Indians to victory in a thriller
Indians 254 for 6 (Badani 100) beat Prime Minister's XI 253 for 6 (Brown 80, North 74) by 1 run
Cade Brown held the PM XI together and top-scored with 80
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In a well-contested game, more of sentimental significance than anything else, the Indians scored 254 for 6 and beat the Prime Minister's XI by one run in a thrilling encounter in Canberra. Hemang Badani scored a century while no other Indian topped 33, and Cade Brown, captain of the Australian Capital Territory, liked what he saw of the Indian bowlers and struck 80 runs.
Steve Waugh led the PM XI on to the field, and Shaun Tait and Damien Wright opened the bowling against Sanjay Bangar and Parthiv Patel. After providing his team a solid start, Patel (19) fell to Cleary (36 for 1). A 60-run partnership ensued, and Bangar chose to knuckle down, while Badani rotated the strike, unafraid to attempt the big hits. After scoring a slow-poke 33, Bangar was dismissed, and in came Rohan Gavaskar. A while later, he was on his way back for 26, the first of McDonald's three wickets. But with figures of 3 for 70 in nine overs at the end of the innings, it's not clear who the victim was.
Both Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Dravid got off to starts, but fell before reaching 20, and Ajit Agarkar's limp with the bat extended to exhibition matches as well, as he fell for 5 (230 for 8). Meanwhile, Badani kept his end up, and got partnerships going with the top order; 54 with Gavaskar, and 42 with Dravid.
Badani upped the rate towards the end as he rushed towards his century. His innings ended on the very last ball of the innings, giving McDonald his third wicket.
The PM XI began briskly, as the openers scored at over five an over. Amit Bhandari, bowling for the first time on tour, dismissed Matthew Bradley for 12 (38 for 1). Ashish Nehra then had David Hussey caught behind, and the score read 59 for 2. But that brought Brown to the wicket, and with Marcus North, he put on 84 in quick time. After scoring 74 with seven boundaries, North was taken out by Bangar, who was given an extended run by Dravid.
Then, like so many times during his last series, all eyes turned yet again to the man striding out. Steve Waugh hit one boundary and got out for seven. Christopher Hartley, with a century in his only first-class innings, came out to bat, and nearly took the game away from India. Scampering for runs, he partnered Brown and hit four boundaries, and the two put on 38. But just as victory was around the corner, Nehra struck again, ridding Brown for 80 (213 for 5).
With 42 runs needed off 33 balls and a new man at the crease, the task seemed more daunting than ever. But Hartley kept going at the ever-shrinking target, until the last over came about, and eight runs were required. Bhandari conceded only six, and claimed McDonald's wicket, leaving Hartley stranded on 45 off 43, as the Indians held on to victory by the slender thread of a single run.