Making mockery of Team India’s experimentation to find the perfect playing eleven for the World Cup this year, Australia sealed the five-match series with their three in-a-row win here at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Wednesday.
And, there was no better way to show India the proverbial mirror, not just winning with a comprehensive 35-run margin but also a bilateral ODI series here after nearly a decade. The last series win for Australia came in 2009 when they defeated India 4-2 in a six-match series.
Australia rode on opener Usman Khawaja’s century (100), his second of the series, to post a challenging 272/9 after winning the toss. Keeping in mind the history of Kotla wicket — where ball tends to keep low as the match progresses — the chase was always going to be difficult for hosts.
The late Indian batting order, led by Kedar Jadhav, showed some spine gathering 91 runs along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the seventh wicket. But there was no reliable batsman to carry on the good work after the loss of Kumar (46) and then Jadhav (44) in successive deliveries.
Finally, India folded up in the last ball of the match at 237.
India lost opener Shikhar Dhawan (12) and then skipper Virat Kohli (20) by the time total reached 68. And, as decision to promote Rishabh Pant (16) at No. 4 also failed to yield any desirable result, it was left for Rohit Sharma to take the team to the finish line. But the Mumbaikar’s temporary loss of concentration after reaching his half-century cost his team dear as he was caught well outside his crease trying to hit Adam Zampa straight over his head.
Rohit’s 56 remained top score for India.
Earlier, Khawaja and Peter Handscomb (52) set the platform for the tourists to build a big total. But all credit to Indian bowlers for pegging Australian onslaught back with some intelligent bowling at the death. From 200 in just 39.2 overs, Indians gave just 72 runs in the remaining 10.4 overs taking five wickets.
Ravindra Jadeja’s 2/45 in his 10 overs proved crucial. While pacers Bhuvneshwar (3/48) and Mohammed Shami (2/57) also played their role to perfection, after failing to impress with the new ball earlier.
Visiting skipper Aaron Finch had no hesitation in opting to bat after witnessing an overcast sky. His decision proved right when his bowlers hardly faced any problem gripping the ball towards the end of the game. Not to forget that dew factor was the key reason identified by Indians while failing to defend a massive total in Mohali in the last game.
After an opening stand of 76 between Finch and Khawaja, India were able to make a breakthrough in the 15th over with Jadeja. Finch (27) failed to read a typical angled ball to give short-lived joy to the sizeable Kotla crowd as Handscomb then combined with Khawaja to keep Indian attack at bay.
Skipper Kohli tried all the options, but could never regain the momentum in the game.
It was only after Khawaja lost his wicket after reaching the three-figure mark that India sniffed a chance by getting in-form Glenn Maxwell early to make it 182 for four from a one-time score of 174/1.
It was left to some late hitting by Jhye Richardson (29) and Pat Cummins (15) to score that valuable 31 in the last three overs.
DID YOU KNOW?
Australia have won three consecutive ODIs in India more than nine years ago, in November 2009. They repeated the feat again this month, winning the 3rd, 4th and 5th ODIs after being down 0-2
383 No. of runs Australia opener Usman Khawaja has scored in this 5-match ODI series at 76.60 with 2×100 and 2x50s. His tally is the second most by an Aussie in a 5-match ODI series, only 3 behind David Warner’s 386 against South Africa in 2016. He is also the highest run-getter in this series, ahead of Virat Kohli (310)
14 No. of wickets Pat Cummins has taken in this series, the most from either side. Adam Zampa is second highest with 11 while India’s Kuldeep Yadav is third with 10 sticks
Source: Sports News