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Badani's century lifts reckless India to 248-9 in second one-dayer

PUNE, India, March 28 (AFP) - Hemang Badani hit a career-best 100 to help India post 248-9 from 50 overs in the second one-day international against Australia here on Wednesday.

The Indians, leading 1-0 in the five-match series, threw caution to the winds after electing to bat first on the slow Nehru stadium wicket.

Three batsmen ran themselves out and others perished to poor shots, but Badani maintained some order with fluent strokeplay around the wicket.

The Tamil Nadu left-hander hit 10 boundaries and two sixes, the second big hit off Damien Martyn taking him to his highest one-day score of 77.

Badani, who came in at 60-3, reached his century in the penultimate over when an overthrow from Australian captain Steve Waugh fetched him two runs.

But he fell off the next ball, lofting left-arm seamer Nathan Bracken to long-on.

Badani put on 93 for the fourth wicket with Venkatsai Laxman (51), before Australia hit back with three wickets in the space of nine runs.

Sunil Joshi helped Badani add 59 for the seventh wicket, himself contributing 19.

Australia, who dropped leg-spinner Shane Warne, rode on their three fast bowlers, Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming and Bracken, who picked up two wickets each.

Sachin Tendulkar gave the hosts a flying start with six fours and a six in his 32 off 29 balls.

Most of Tendulkar's hits came with ferocious pull shots off McGrath, before he fell to the same stroke off Fleming, holing out to square leg.

India, who saw skipper Sourav Ganguly bowled by McGrath for four, also lost their other frontline star Rahul Dravid quickly to make it 60-3 in the 15th over.

Laxman, who ran out Tendulkar in the first one-dayer, meted out the same treatment to Dravid by turning his back on the batsman after calling him for a single.

Laxman went on to hit his maiden half-century in one-day cricket when he too was run out, charging down the non-striker's end in a bid to give Badani his own 50.

Debutant Dinesh Mongia had made two when he ran himself out, failing to respond to Badani's call for a single after playing the ball to third man.

Wicket-keeper Vijay Dahiya hit out against Fleming to be caught in the deep, but Joshi and Badani helped India set Australia a target of five runs an over.

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