Lee's huge six clinches win

India 296-4; Australia 225-8 Australia win by two wickets (D/L method)
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The Independent Online

Brett Lee hit a huge six in the final over to help Australia achieve a remarkable two-wicket victory over India in the VB Series in Sydney.

Originally chasing a massive 297, the home side were set a revised target of 225 from 34 overs after rain interrupted the early part of their innings.

The hosts faced an uphill task when they needed 11 from the final over with bowlers Lee and Andy Bichel at the crease. But Lee carved Lakshmipathy Balaji into the crowd at deep cover and scored a single off the following delivery to seal the win.

The match provided compelling evidence that, while India are closer to matching Australia than any team in the last decade, Ricky Ponting's side still have the winning mentality which the rest of world cricket is striving to achieve. Until three balls from the end, India were in the ascendancy.

The tourists had fought back superbly after Ponting and Adam Gilchrist had seemed to be guiding Australia to their target with consummate ease.

But when Ponting was caught behind off I K Pathan for 42, bringing a stand of 126 in 17 overs with Gilchrist to an end, it seemed the wheels were coming off for Australia.

Pathan had Damien Martyn dismissed in the same manner next ball, and shortly afterwards the danger man Gilchrist was caught and bowled by Murali Kartik after a typically dominant 95 from only 72 deliveries.

Pathan, along with Sourav Ganguly, was the pick of the Indian bowlers, taking 3 for 51 from his seven overs.

Earlier, Yuvraj Singh (139) and V V S Laxman (106 not out) both hit impressive centuries as India posted a formidable total of 296 for 4 from their 50 overs.

Yuvraj, in particular, was mighty impressive, scoring 139 from 122 deliveries, including 21 off a single over from Ian Harvey, before he was bowled by Lee at the death.

Laxman also shone, giving a master class in finding gaps as he scored an unbeaten 106, containing just five fours.

The rain changed the game, and the centurions' efforts proved to be in vain.

Australia now lead the VB Series standings by five points, and with Zimbabwe practically out of the reckoning, another mouth-watering meeting between world cricket's two superpowers looms in the final.