Doug Bollinger and Shane Watson shared six wickets as Australia beat India by 24 runs in the fourth one-day international here on Monday to square the seven-match series 2-2.
Left-arm paceman Bollinger took 3-38 while Watson picked 3-29 to bowl out India for 226 in 46.4 overs after Cameron White top-scored with 62 in Australia’s total of 250 all out in 49.2 overs.
The Indians failed to exploit helpful batting conditions in the day-night encounter at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium, with none of their batsmen scoring even a half-century.
Sachin Tendulkar (40) and Virender Sehwag (30) got good starts while Harbhajan Singh (31) slammed five fours and a six in a late assault but the Australians held their nerve in the end to carve an impressive win.
“We failed as a batting unit, but we bowled really well,” said Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“It was a fantastic one-day wicket. The ball was coming on nicely to the bat. Our fielding was also good. In fact it was our best effort in the last one-and-a-half years.”
The world champions, sent in to bat on a placid track, were also indebted to captain Ricky Ponting who struck his third half-century of the series and shared a 64-run stand for the second wicket with Watson (49).
India began their chase in rollicking fashion with Sehwag smacking seven fours off left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson, who turned 28 Monday.
Sehwag’s belligerence was snapped when he turned the face of the bat and ended up splicing Bollinger to Watson at mid-off.
Tendulkar fell seven runs short of completing an unprecedented 17,000 runs in one-dayers when he was adjudged leg before off off-spinner Nathan Hauritz. TV replays however suggested the ball would have missed leg-stump.
Yuvraj Singh (12) was out to a direct throw from Ponting at short cover while Dhoni (26) was caught behind off Bollinger.
Earlier, a disciplined effort in the field by the generally sluggish Indians resulted in four run-outs and contained Australia to what looked like a below-par total.
“It looked like we were going to get 300 but we didn’t capitalise,” said Ponting. “India bowled well. But we fielded and bowled outstandingly.”
Left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra picked 3-37 and also ran out White while Harbhajan was back among the wickets after an indifferent show in the previous games, picking 2-48 off his 10 overs.
Ponting hit five fours and a six in his 59-ball knock for his 73rd half-century in one-day internationals while Michael Hussey chipped in with a fine 40 off 41 balls.
Watson, named man of the match, and Ponting helped Australia regroup after the cheap dismissal of opener Shaun Marsh, trapped leg-before by Nehra for five.
Watson was unlucky to miss out on his 10th half-century, being caught behind off Harbhajan after facing 52 balls and hitting six fours.
The next match will be played in Hyderabad on Thursday.