Wide of the mark
Australia normally don't give an inch on the cricket field but today their bowlers misplaced their radar and conceded an awful amount of wides. Brett Lee began the glut by firing the first ball of the third over down the leg side for five wides and the disease spread rapidly. James Hopes was the best, conceding only one wide, while Andrew Symonds and Brad Hogg also gift-wrapped five wides. The runs in wides totalled 31, the second highest that Australia have ever conceded in an ODI. Zaheer Khan began to return the favour by bowling two wides in the first over of Australia's innings and RP Singh followed suit.
Tendulkar at sea
An outstanding opening spell from Lee made Sachin Tendulkar look helpless at the crease. He was beaten on the drive by fast outswingers, surprised by a couple of bouncers, survived two close appeals; for caught behind when Snicko suggested an inside edge and a lbw shout when the ball might have clipped leg stump. Tendulkar had his troubles against the other bowlers as well; Nathan Bracken rapped him on the pads first ball and Mitchell Johnson's bounce hit him on the shoulder of his bat. Tendulkar changed his bat twice during his innings and managed to weather the storm.
An extraordinary wait
The spectators had cheered six boundaries off Sourav Ganguly's bat but none had been forthcoming from Tendulkar despite the fielding restrictions. It was only in the 15th over, bowled by Hopes, that Tendulkar freed his arms and cut to the backward point boundary for his first four. The shot had broken a 42-ball drought and the crowd received it with robust applause.
Nimble feet, clumsy hands
Brad Hodge, patrolling the square leg boundary, sprinted to his right to stop a flick from Tendulkar. The ball was winning the race and Hodge too realised that he wouldn't be able to get there in time. As a last ditch effort, he slid feet first, like a football tackle, and prevented the boundary with his legs. In the next over, Hodge had to move quickly on the boundary to stop Tendulkar's well-timed cover drive. This time he put in the conventional dive, hands first, but the ball bounced off him and went over the ropes.
Tendulkar had battled to survive and reached a well-earned half-century before a utter lapse in concentration brought about his dismissal. He tried to paddle-sweep Hopes but missed and was hit on the pad. The Australians went up in appeal for leg before while Tendulkar had wandered to the middle of the pitch, his attention focused on Steve Bucknor's finger. No one realised that the ball had gone to Lee at short fine leg who swooped on it and threw down the stumps while Gilchrist was still appealing and Tendulkar was yards short.
The perfect finish
The Indians hadn't hit a single six in their innings despite the boundaries at the Sector 16 Stadium being on the smaller side. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Robin Uthappa had taken 14 runs off the 50th over and one ball remained. Almost unnoticed, Dhoni had moved on to 44 off 34 deliveries and he lofted the last one cleanly over long-on to hit India's first six and bring up his fifty as well.
In Hyderabad, Yuvraj Singh completed a stunning piece of fielding and fired the throw to Zaheer who reprieved Matthew Hayden by breaking the stumps with his hand. That let off cost India only 13 runs. Today Yuvraj once again threw the ball to Dhoni with Hayden just short of his crease but once again the stumps were broken with the hand. Hayden was on 53 and went on to make 92.
Australia had made a strong start to their innings but India had picked up Adam Gilchrist and the match was poised at 59 for 1 after nine overs. Australia went on the offensive in the next two overs and hit India hard. Ricky Ponting cut RP Singh fiercely for four and followed up with two exquisite drives, through mid-on and cover. Hayden pounced on Pathan in the next over and swung him over the midwicket boundary before drilling another four in the same region. Australia scored 26 runs in those two overs and the run-rate escalated.
Stunned by a stumping
Ponting had leaned forward to drive Irfan Pathan but was beaten outside off stump. Dhoni quickly whipped off the bails and pointed to Ponting's back foot, indicating that it was on the line. Umpire Suresh Shastri jogged in to replace and took his time in calling for the third umpire. The Indians didn't seem too excited and they had returned to their fielding positions while the third umpire pondered over the decision. Ponting too was unperturbed, calmly waiting to take strike again, until he appeared shocked when the giant screen flashed "OUT". He stood his ground a while, muttered for what it was worth, before striding off in a huff.