Clarke leads Aussie rout

Skipper Clarke shines as Australia destroy India by nine wickets in Twenty20.

Last Updated: 01/02/08 11:44am

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Celebrations: Clarke leads Aussie cheers

Celebrations: Clarke leads Aussie cheers

Sky Bet

Australia destroyed Twenty20 world champions India with a comprehensive nine-wicket victory in their Twenty20 international in Melbourne.

A bumper crowd of over 84,000 at the MCG saw the hosts, led expertly by Man of the Match Michael Clarke, decimate the India batting line-up, after the tourists opted to bat first when winning the toss.

India could muster just 74 and last 17.3 overs of their allotted 20, and Australia lost just one wicket as they cantered to victory with a whopping 52 balls to spare.

Clarke skippered the side after Ricky Ponting was forced out with a back injury, and he led from the front by superbly running out Virender Sehwag early on with the score on just five.

Brett Lee came steaming in to dismiss Dinesh Karthik, while Nathan Bracken got rid of Gautam Gambir for nine and Robin Uthappa for just a single to leave India languishing on 20-4.

The World Twenty20 champions had no answer to Australia's livewire fielding and dangerous bowling, with James Hopes bowling Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni going for just nine as all of India's top six failed to make it to double figures.

Irfan Pathan offered some resistance, but he could find no company at the crease as Adam Voges took two wickets in two balls with Clarke's flying catch getting rid of Harbhajan Singh, who was given a warm reception by the MCG crowd to say the least, followed by Sreesanth's dismissal.

Voges had the rare luxury in Twenty20 cricket of having men crowded around the bat for his hat-trick ball, but Ishant Sharma kept it out.

Pathan made it to 26 before he became Bracken's third victim, as the left-armer finished with figures of 3-11 to end the India innings on 74.

The retiring Adam Gilchrist smashed 25 from 22 balls in his international Twenty20 farewell, and he received a standing ovation as he left the field when he was caught on the boundary.

Clarke continued his fine display as skipper as he led his side home with 37 from 36 balls, and a wide from Sharma sealed the victory for Australia with still 52 balls to spare.

The comprehensive manner of the victory will set Australia up nicely for the one-day triangular series, which starts on Sunday as they face India again.

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