India’s losing streak in Australia continues

Sydney: India’s disastrous run in Australia continued as they lost the first Twenty20 international by 31 runs at the ANZ Stadium here Wednesday.

India managed 140 for six in 20 overs in reply to Australia’s 171 for four. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni struck 48 off 43 balls but his efforts came a little too late as the visitors made a poor start losing four wickets for 53 runs in 7.1 overs.

Spinner Brad Hogg (1/21), making a national comeback at 40 and part-timer David Hussey (2/4) troubled the Indian batsmen on a wicket that offered sharp turn and bounce.

India lost Virender Sehwag on the third ball as the opener was squared up by Brett Lee (1/36) and Mike Hussey at first slip.

Gautam Gambhir (20) and Virat Kohli (22) added 41 runs for the second wicket to bring some stability but their quick dismissals and Rohit Sharma’s first ball duck put India in a tight spot.

Suresh Raina (14) also failed to get going and a late charge by Dhoni was not enough to take India home safely. Dhoni hit three sixes and a four during his quickfire knock.

Earlier, sizzling knocks from wicket-keeper batsman Matthew Wade (72) and a handy 42 from David Hussey gave Australians a good total to defend. Opening batsman David Warner hit a 14-ball 25.

Wade, who has been preferred over wicket-keeper Brad Haddin for the initial part of the upcoming ODI series, proved his worth by smashing his first fifty in the shortest format. Wade was involved in a 56-run stand with Hussey for the third wicket with Hussey in a session halted by a brief spell of rain.

For India, fast bowler Vinay Kumar (1/28) and leggie Rahul Sharma (1/27) were the pick of the bowlers. Sharma had a tough time fielding off his bowling as he dropped Birt and Australian skipper George Bailey, who made his international debut in any form of the game.

Warner and Wade set the tone for a big score, hitting 38 off the first 23 balls, before the former mistimed one off Vinay Kumar with Raina taking the skier. Warner’s cameo included a remarkable switch-hit off Ravichandran Ashwin (1/34), taking it several rows back over extra cover.

Wade struck five fours and two sixes in his 43-ball innings. He crossed the 50-run mark with a massive six off Ravindra Jadeja. The southpaw was bowled shortly after the rain break, missing a quicker one off Raina. Hussey hit three sixes in his 30-ball knock.