Nobody was expecting the drubbing India gave to defending champions Australia amid the news of spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) which were believed to have sapped their morale. However, the performed remarkably well in both war-up matches. In the matched played at Cardiff, India trounced the opponents in every department of the game, winning the match by a hefty 243-run margin.

[caption id="attachment_1319" align="alignright" width="300"]Dinesh Karthik scored successive century – an unbeaten 146-run innings (Photo: AFP) Dinesh Karthik scored successive century – an unbeaten 146-run innings (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

The hero of the match was Dinesh Karthik who scored consecutive century in the match, however, remains unfortunate as the tons would not be a part of his international record. Karthik – who played an unbeaten 106-run innings against Sri Lanka in the team’s first warm-up – led the India out of crisis at a time when half of the team was back to the pavilion on just 55 runs. Along with captain MS Dhoni, he put on 211 runs in the sixth wicket and turned the tables. The partnership affected Australia so much that they succumbed to a target of 309 runs from the outset and folded for just 65 runs.

Australia’s fast-bowling trio shocked India when they won the toss and decided to bat in the first innings. India’s top-order failed to perform just the way they did against Sri Lanka, which is a worrisome development ahead of the Champions Trophy. Australia proved India’s decision to bat first wrong as Mitchell Starc took the wickets of Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli, and Clint McKay sent packing Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina in one over. Mitchell Johnson added insult to injury, dismissing Shikhar Dhawan which made India’s score 55 for five.

Karthik and Dhoni worked miracles at the stage, putting up their best. Both batsmen refused to take Australian pressure and drastically changed the situation. Karthik’s 146 off 140 and Dhoni’s 91 off 77 showed that how the players stood firm in the face of adversity. Karthik hit 17 fours and a six while the captain’s innings was studded with four sixes and six fours. The partnership lasted for 30 overs and ended in the 47th over at a time when Dhoni was just nine runs away from the century.

Karthik’s innings helped India amass 308 runs for six wickets in 50 overs and set a huge 309-run target for the Australians.

Starc and McKay took two wickets apiece while James Faulkner and Johnson each took one wicket.

From the start of their innings, Australia demonstrated that the target was insurmountable. Their batsmen were returning to the pavilion one after the other and the after a bashing given by Karthik and Dhoni, Umesh Yadav’s five-wicket haul proved to be a nail in the opponents’ coffin. Australia were all out for 65 runs in the 24th over as they did not have Dhoni or Karthik to carve out a hope of victory out of nowhere. Adam Voges was the top-scorer with 23 runs and Fill Hews was the only other batsman to reach double figures by making 14 runs.

Yadav took five wickets against 18 runs. Ishant Sharma took three while Ravichandran Ashwin took one wicket.

India will now play South Africa in the inaugural match of the Champions Trophy. If India continue to perform in a similar vein, the favourite Proteas will surely find it difficult to save the match. India, however, will have to keep an eye on their top-order as Karthik and Dhoni do not come to salvage match every time.
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