Warner leads Aussie rampage over India

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The Independent Online

Australia followed a barrage of sixes with an equally destructive display of quick bowling to crush India by 49 runs in their Super Eight opener here in Barbados yesterday.

Michael Clarke's side smashed 16 sixes, just one short of the international Twenty20 record held by South Africa, as they posted an imposing 184 for 5. India's chase was then reduced to a rabble as they failed miserably to handle the pace of the Australian quicks, who revelled on the fast-paced wicket here, to be bowled out for 135 in 17.4 overs.

Australia's batting onslaught was led by the openers David Warner (72) and Shane Watson (54), who combined for 13 sixes in a 104-run stand from 65 balls. At that stage Australia looked set to post a score of more than 200, but the dismissals of both openers slowed the momentum – no sixes came in the last four overs – to give India a fighting chance.

Indian hopes soon vanished, though, once the pace duo of Dirk Nannes and Shaun Tait got to work on their top order. Nannes, who was aided by some ill-advised strokeplay, was simply too hot to handle as he removed Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh cheaply inside the first five overs.

Tait accounted for the in-form Suresh Raina, who top-edged another loose Indian pull stroke to Clarke, and when the captain M S Dhoni went, chipping Steven Smith to long-on, no batsman bar the defiant Rohit Sharma had reached double figures and India were 37 for 5.

Sharma at least gave India some respectability by playing a lone hand to end up unbeaten on 79 from 46 balls. Nannes finished with figures of 3 for 25 while Tait took 3 for 21 after wrapping up the tail.

Afterwards Clarke said: "I believe we have the best two openers in Twenty20 in the world at the moment. I think they bat fantastically together as a left-hand, right-hand combination. Both are very aggressive but if they need to take their time they don't seem too stressed. I am blessed to have them on my team."

In yesterday's other game, Mahela Jayawardene scored 98 not out to follow his century against Zimbabwe on Monday as Sri Lanka beat West Indies by 57 runs. Jayawardene's stand of 167 with captain Kumar Sangakkara took Sri Lanka to 195 for 3, the highest score of the tournament so far. After losing Chris Gayle for five the hosts never threatened that total and finished on 138 for 8.