65 all out and no Michael Clarke leaves Australians in a pickle

 

Australia's problems are mounting ahead of the opening Champions Trophy match against England on Saturday after a 243-run battering off India in their final warm-up game, coupled with the ongoing back problems of captain Michael Clarke.

Dinesh Karthik's stunning century and a fine bowling spell by Umesh Yadav helped India to the crushing victory in Cardiff, despite being reduced to 55 for 5 after winning the toss and electing to bat.

But Karthik (146 not out off 140 balls) and M S Dhoni (91 off 77) put on a 211-run partnership to help India reach 308 for 6 from their 50 overs.

Australia's reply never got going as Yadav ripped through their top order, taking figures of 5 for 18, as they subsided to 65 all out – just five short of their worst one-day total. Adam Voges top scored with 23.

Earlier in the day, Australia's opening bowlers Clint McKay and Mitchell Starc were rewarded for their nagging line and full length with two wickets apiece to put India in difficulty.

But Karthik and Dhoni carefully rebuilt the innings before going on the offensive during the final 20 overs. Yadav then ran through the Australian batting order, taking all five wickets to reduce them to 28 for 5. Ishant Sharma chipped in himself with 3 for 11 .

The Australia stand-in captain, George Bailey, who managed one run from his 11 balls at the crease, admitted. "It's not ideal. I don't think you ever want to have a game like that whether it is practice or not. All in all, it was a pretty disappointing day."

On captain Clarke, set to head to London for specialist treatment on his back injury, Bailey added: "It is just precautionary with him. It's his back which is always going to be the issue with Michael. It would be a huge blow if Michael is not available [for the tournament], he is our best batsman and our captain and he is someone we need in the side and look forward to having in the side."

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