Rain forces Australia, India to share the points

CENTURION, South Africa, (Reuters) – Australia  reached 234 for four off 42.3 overs before heavy rain forced the  abandonment of their Champions Trophy Group A match against  India at Centurion yesterday.

Both teams earned a point, leaving India without a win in  the competition.

Pakistan head the group on four points and they will play  Australia, on three, at Centurion tomorrow.

India have one point from two matches and will conclude their group fixtures when they take on the winless West Indies in Johannesburg tomorrow also.

If Australia beat Pakistan those two teams would progress to the tournament semi-finals.

Australia’s innings was powered by half-centuries from Tim Paine, Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey.

Opener Paine and Ponting shared a second-wicket stand of 84 runs off 86 balls before Paine was caught at mid-wicket by Harbhajan Singh off the bowling of leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

Paine departed for a sparkling 56 including seven fours and a six but Ponting found a willing ally in Hussey as the pair put on 88 runs for the third wicket.

The 34-year-old Ponting played a steady hand in compiling 65  runs off 88 balls before he was run out attempting a second run  thanks to a direct hit from Gautam Gambhir on the deep cover  boundary.

Ponting’s dismissal left Australia on 175 for three but the  left-handed Hussey, who has struggled for runs recently,  returned to form in scintillating style as he raced to his 23rd  one-day half-century off just 45 balls.

Hussey eventually fell for 67 runs off 65 deliveries when he was caught at long-off by Sachin Tendulkar off the bowling of Ishant Sharma before heavy rain forced the players off.

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