Chennai: Inability of the Indian batters to convert their starts into big knocks enabled Australia defeat the hosts by 21 runs and win the third ODI here Wednesday. Chasing a victory target of 270, India could only manage 248 all out as batter after batter was dismissed after settling down. Among them were skipper Rohit Sharma (30), Shubman Gill (37), KL Rahul (32), Hardik Pandya (40) and Virat Kohli (54). Had any one of these five would have got close to 70 or 80 runs, India could have well won the game. Australia thus won the ODI series 2-1 and this was India’s first defeat after emerging victorious in five successive bilateral series at home.
Spinners Adam Zampa (4/45) and Ashton Agar (2/41) spelt doom for India sharing six wickets between themselves. Agar got the prized wicket of Kohli and then also dismissed Suryakumar Yadav (0) the very next ball. This was the third successive time that Suryakumar was a out for a golden duck in the series.
Earlier a fine opening spell by Hardik Pandya (3/44) and a probing effort by spinner Kuldeep Yadav (3/55) restricted Australia to 269 all out in 49 overs.
While Pandya shaved off the top half, Kuldeep’s rhythm and guile on a helpful Chennai track was the biggest takeaway as the latter’s delivery to remove Alex Carey was the ball of the series. It was a classical left-arm wrist spinner’s leg-break that beat the southpaw all ends up and Kuldeep’s ecstacy was there to be seen.
India were in control after pegging Australia back at 138 for five but a 58-run stand between Carey (38) and Marcus Stoinis (25) for the sixth wicket and 42 for the eighth wicket between Sean Abbott (26) and Ashton Agar (17) took them past the 250-run mark. Then Mitchell Starc and Zampa added 22 runs for the 10th wicket and that proved to be vital indeed.
Mitchell Marsh (47) and Travis Head (33) put on 68 for the opening stand. However, Pandya then took three quick wickets to bring India right back into the game. David Warner (23) and Marnus Labuschagne (28) paid dearly for their indiscreet shot selection off Kuldeep’s bowling after settling down.
However, in the end, the total was enough for Australia.
Brief scores: Australia 269 in 49 overs (Mitchell Marsh 47, Hardik pandya 3/44, Kuldeep Yadav 3/55) beat India 248 in 49.1 overs (Virat Kohli 54, Hardik Pandya 40, Adam Zampa 4/45) by 21 runs.
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