Sachin Tendulkar's sublime unbeaten century led India to a thrilling six-wicket victory over Australia in the opening match of the Commonwealth Bank Series final in Sydney yesterday.
India secured the win in the 45th over when Mahendra Singh Dhoni found the boundary to hand the tourists the early initiative in the best-of-three final.
Tendulkar's masterly 117 – his 42nd ODI ton – came off just 120 deliveries and included 10 boundaries. The veteran opener was ably supported by Rohit Sharma, who hit a brisk 66 off 87 balls to bolster India's run chase.
Tendulkar was positive post-match but admitted that India still had their work cut out for the next game on Tuesday: "To beat them is extremely important and now we have to beat them a second time," he said. "It won't be easy but we have shown that we can do it."
Earlier Matthew Hayden made 82 to help the home side recover after being reduced to 24 for three. Australia passed 100 in the 18th over when Andrew Symonds effortlessly lofted Harbhajan Singh over mid-off for four.
Harbhajan picked up the wicket of Hayden after the opener was caught on the run by Piyush Chawla at deep mid-wicket when attempting a sweep.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting has called for a vast improvement from his side.
"The bottom line was we didn't get enough runs and we didn't bowl well enough and we didn't field well enough," said Ponting. "I'm expecting a better performance from us on Tuesday."
Australia v India, Sydney
India beat Australia by 6 wkts
A C Gilchrist c Yuvraj Singh b Kumar 7
M L Hayden c Chawla
b Harbhajan Singh 82
R T Ponting b Kumar 1
M J Clarke c Dhoni b I Sharma 4
A Symonds c Kumar
b Harbhajan Singh 31
M E K Hussey run out 45
J R Hopes c Dhoni b Yuvraj Singh 15
G B Hogg not out 23
B Lee c R Sharma b Pathan 17
M G Johnson not out 6
Extras (b1 w7 pens 0) 8
Total (for 8, 50 overs) 239
Fall: 1-16 2-19 3-24 4-124 5-135 6-173 7-212 8-231.
Did not bat: N W Bracken.Bowling: Kumar 10-1-49-2; I Sharma 8-0-32-1; Pathan 7-0-63-1; Harbhajan Singh 10-0-38-2; Chawla 10-0-33-0; Yuvraj Singh 4-0-18-1; R Sharma 1-0-5-0.
A R Uthappa c Hussey b Hopes 17
S R Tendulkar not out 117
G Gambhir run out 3
Yuvraj Singh b Hogg 10
R G Sharma b Hopes 66
M S Dhoni not out 15
Extras (b4 lb2 w6 nb2 pens 0) 14
Total (for4, 45.5 overs) 242
Fall: 1-50 2-56 3-87 4-210.
Did not bat: P S Kumar, I K Pathan, P Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, I Sharma.
Bowling: Lee 9-0-33-0; Bracken 8-0-42-0; Johnson 10-0-70-0; Hopes 8.5-0-42-2; Hogg 7-0-38-1; Clarke 3-0-11-0.