Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Australia beat India in nail-biter

Published:Monday | January 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP):Aaron Finch made 96 to lead Australia to a four-wicket win over India yesterday in a tri-series one-day international cricket match shaped by the innings of two opening batsmen.

Rohit Sharma earlier made 138, batting for 49 overs and adding 126 with Suresh Raina, to steer India to 267-8 as they batted first at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after winning the toss. Man of the Match Mitchell Starc took a career-best 6-43 to limit India.

Australia's innings developed along strikingly similar lines: Finch opened and played the anchor, sharing a 101-run third-wicket partnership with Steve Smith that carried Australia within sight of victory. Finch and Smith were out within three balls of each other around the 40th over and Australia lost two more wickets before they reached their target with an over to spare.

Veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (13 not out) and skilled finisher James Faulkner (nine not out) stopped the slide and saw Australia to their second-straight tri-series victory after their three-wicket win over England in the opening match on Friday.

"It got a bit tight there at the end," Faulkner said. "It's good to get a win and 2-0 in a tournament is a good start.

"We did make tough work of it the last five, six or seven overs, but we still had Mitchell Starc and a lot of batting to come. It's just good to get a win over India, they're such tough opposition."

Earlier, Sharma opened the India innings and endured the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan (2), Ajinkya Rahane (12) and Virat Kohli (9) before finding in Raina one partner who was as able as he was to defy the Australia attack. Raina fell for 51 - his 33rd ODI half-century - shortly before Sharma progressed to his sixth century, in the 37th over, from 109 balls. India had been 59-3 in the over when Raina came to the wicket and joined Sharma, who was then on 29, and the pair stayed together through 22.1 overs during which India scored at a rate of just under six runs per over.

Australia took almost four hours to bowl their 50 overs and captain George Bailey may face a one-match suspension for his second over-rate violation in three months. He was fined when Australia also failed to bowl 50 overs in the alloted time in a match against South Africa in November.