Records galore for India in series-clinching victory

Australia innings (toss: Australia, who chose to bat first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored 4s 6s Strike rate
D Warner bowled Pandya 42 (44) 4 1 95.45
A Finch caught Jadhav, bowled Kuldeep 124 (125) 12 5 99.20
S Smith (c) caught Bumrah, bowled Kuldeep 63 (71) 5 0 88.73
G Maxwell stumped Dhoni, bowled Chahal 5 (13) 0 0 38.46
T Head bowled Bumrah 4 (6) 0 0 66.66
M Stoinis not out 27 (28) 1 1 96.42
P Handscomb (wk) caught Pandey, bowled Bumrah 3 (7) 0 0 42.85
A Agar not out 9 (6) 1 0 150.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson
Extras: 16 (14 wides and 2 leg byes)
AUS’s total: 293/6 in 50 overs, at 5.86 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 70/1 (Warner, 13.3), 224/2 (Finch, 37.5), 243/3 (Smith, 41.6), 243/4 (Maxwell, 42.1), 260/5 (Head, 45.3), and 275/6 (Handscomb, 47.5)
India bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets Economy
B Kumar 10 0 52 0 5.20
J Bumrah 10 0 52 2 5.20
Y Chahal 10 0 54 1 5.40
H Pandya 10 0 58 1 5.80
K Yadav 10 0 75 2 7.50
India innings (target: 294 runs in 50 overs, at 5.88 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored 4s 6s Strike rate
A Rahane leg before wicket Cummins 70 (76) 9 0 92.10
R Sharma caught Cartwright (sub), bowled Coulter-Nile 71 (62) 6 4 114.51
V Kohli (c) caught Finch, bowled Agar 28 (35) 2 0 80.00
H Pandya caught Richardson, bowled Cummins 78 (72) 5 4 108.33
K Jadhav caught Handscomb, bowled Richardson 2 (4) 0 0 50.00
M Pandey not out 36 (32) 6 0 112.50
MS Dhoni (wk) not out 3 (6) 0 0 50.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Yuzvendra Chahal
Extras: 6 (3 wides and 3 leg byes)
India’s total: 294/5 in 47.5 overs, at 6.14 runs per over
Fall of wickets: 139/1 (Rohit, 21.4), 147/2 (Rahane, 23.3), 203/3 (Kohli, 34.3), 206/4 (Jadhav, 35.2) and 284/5 (Pandya, 45.5)
Australia bowling
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs given Wickets  Economy
P Cummins 10 0 54 2 5.40
N Coulter-Nile 10 0 58 1 5.80
K Richardson 8.5 0 45 1 5.09
M Stoinis 8 0 61 0 7.62
A Agar 10 0 71 1 7.10
G Maxwell 1 0 2 0 2.00

Match report: India vs Australia 3rd ODI

Team India have won their fourth straight ODI series of 2017, while this is also their sixth consecutive ODI series victory, winning the 3rd ODI by five wickets and with 13 balls to spare. On the back of three seventies, from Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya, India finished off the chase in 47.5 overs. This was India’s ninth straight ODI victory, a run which began in the Caribbean in July, and for Australia, this was their 11th straight ODI defeat away from home. With this victory, India also moved up to No. 1 in the ICC ODI rankings. Hardik Pandya, for scoring his fourth ODI half-century (a 72-ball 78) and taking 1/58 with the ball, was awarded the man-of-the-match.

Chasing 294 for an unassailable 3-0 series lead, India were off to an absolutely imperious start through Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, who dished out significant punishment to the Australian bowlers and made the most of batting on a batting beauty. Rohit made his intentions clear of wanting to make up for his failures in the first two matches, while Rahane played his usual game but still garnered runs in a hurry. None of the Australian bowlers was spared and for the first time in this ODI series, we saw the true potential of the Indian batsmen come through.

Rohit had a few sighters and was shaky initially, but he swiftly turned around his innings and in a matter of a few deliveries, his usual flamboyance and the gifted ability to hit fours and sixes nonchalantly, were on view. No matter the bowler, no matter the pace at which they bowled and the lengths they hit, Rohit couldn’t be put out of his comfort zone. He played his trademark pulls off the front and back foot and most of his runs came on the on-side. Rohit set off providing us a limited-overs batting masterclass with an authoritative pull over square-leg for a six. This shot gave him the momentum and was the first of four spectacular sixes.

With Rohit in sublime touch and being the more flamboyant batsman in the partnership, Rahane’s primary role was putting his fellow Mumbaikar on strike. He did so for a while and every time he put Rohit on strike, we were in for a treat. In the over after (6th) he hit Cummins for a six over square-leg, Rohit drove Nathan Coulter-Nile spectacularly over mid-off for his second six. In real-time, the feeling was if you can see a better hit and a maximum! But then he bettered this a couple of overs later by coming down the pitch to Kane Richardson and sending the ball over the roof and out of the ground. That was some hit and the ball just flew off his bat in the direction of deep square-leg.

After playing second fiddle, Rahane got in on the act and started holding his own. The 10th over of the innings, which was bowled by Marcus Stoinis, was the one Rahane used to get himself going. The first four wasn’t a pretty shot and was very un-Rahane like, as a thick inside edge carried the ball past the fielder at short mid-wicket and to the boundary. But the next two shots showed Rahane’s batting range, as he manoeuvred short deliveries from Stoinis, one outside off stump and one on middle and leg, behind square on the off-side and on-side.

With Rahane and Rohit on song and timing the ball superbly, Australia looked helpless. Regardless of where the Australian bowlers bowled, they conceded boundaries and unlike what can happen when the batsmen are attacking, the Indian openers didn’t look like they could be dismissed. Also in actuality, Cummins and co. didn’t bowl badly. And in a reasonably small chase, the match was getting out of control quickly for Australia.

Rohit brought up his 33rd ODI half-century with a six off Ashton Agar, reaching this landmark in 44 balls, and continued to strike the ball sweetly. Rahane got to his half-century, the 21st of his ODI career, in 50 balls. With these two in the middle, India were motoring along: the innings 100 came in exactly 15 overs and by 20 overs, they had soared to 132/0, winning the 1-10 and 11-20-over comparisons.

Coulter-Nile provided Australia the breakthrough, dismissing Rohit with a length ball that bounced a little more than anticipated and caught the splice. He was out for 71 off 62 balls. 11 balls later, Rahane was trapped in front by Cummins. He made 70 runs off 76 balls. At 147/2 in the 24th over, Australia probably felt that they had a sniff. Virat Kohli was at the crease and as an experimentation, Hardik Pandya was promoted up the order. The Indian middle order, anyway, lacks experience and MS Dhoni is not the batsman he was, capable of managing a run chase in which six runs have to be scored every over.

Kohli is the big fish, as he always is and particularly in a run chase, but the wicket of Pandya was also vital for Australia because of the danger he poses with his big-hitting ability. These two put together 56 runs for the third wicket and took India past the 200-run mark. Kohli played an uncharacteristic shot and was dismissed for 28.

Hardik Pandya took a liking to Ashton Agar and hit him for four sixes, but he always lived dangerously. His propensity to want to dominate and hit the boundaries was very clear. As a result, all of us were kept on the edge of our seats. When he hit a four or a six, you couldn’t help but be in awe. But then, he was chancing his arm and giving a chance to Australia because of the way he played.

Early on in his innings, he was squared up and wrapped on the pads by Cummins, and then later, on the last ball of the 37th over, he went for a big heave off Agar, got a leading edge and was put down by Smith. India were 78 runs away from victory at this stage and a wicket here could have changed the picture in a big way. What made this a shocker of a shot was 10 runs had already been scored in that over. After being given a life, he forged a 78-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Manish Pandey and took India closer to victory. Pandey was demoted to No. 6 in the batting order and he played a crucial and also a morale-boosting innings of 36* off 32 balls, to see India over the line.

The Australian bowlers did come back well after the assault by Rohit and Rahane, and with a bit of luck, they might have been able to stop India from reaching the target of 294. Cummins took two wickets, while Coulter-Nile, Richardson and Agar took a wicket apiece.

Having opted to bat first after winning their first toss of this ODI series, Australia posted 293/6 in 50 overs, as the Indian bowlers made a strong comeback after the initial phase had been won by the visiting batsmen. At one stage, the Men in Yellow looked like they might post a total well in excess of 300, but the Indian bowling unit showed character and their versatility to restrict the Aussies to below 300.

The regular opening pair of David Warner and Aaron Finch provided their team with a solid start. Finch replaced Hilton Cartwright in the XI for the visitors and this change in pairing helped Australia get off to the kind of start they had yearned for. Finch and Warner are explosive batsmen, who like to stamp their authority on proceedings early on. But they played to a plan here and were extremely sedate in the opening powerplay. Only six fours were hit and 49 runs scored in the first 10 overs, with the primary focus being the preservation of wickets.

The Indore pitch was on the drier side, but most of the deliveries came nicely onto the bat. The ball sped off the blade and signs were that this was a batsmen-friendly pitch on which the bowlers had to vary their pace and rely on variations for wickets. The slips disappeared very early on in the Australian innings and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and co. bowled a lot of cutters even with the new and semi-new ball.

An off-cutter from Hardik Pandya gave India their first breakthrough, as Warner, who had just hit a four, was bowled on the outside. He was dismissed for a 44-ball 42, with the first wicket falling at 70. The hosts needed this wicket, in particular, with Warner finding a bit of rhythm and the runs having just started to flow freely. Finch by now had settled into his innings and for his own and team’s welfare, needed to carry on. He continued to be a little streaky in his accumulation of runs, but his six-hitting ability came to the fore and the runs came at a good clip after a sedate start.

The innings 100 came in the 20th over and the pace of the Australian innings went up a notch hereafter. Yuzvendra Chahal, who was the first spinner to be introduced into the attack, didn’t find much purchase and he wasn’t consistent with his lengths either. He was too full to Finch on a lot of occasions and got clobbered down the ground for fours and sixes. But he wasn’t the only spinner who was on the receiving end, as Kuldeep Yadav, too, struggled to hit the right lines and lengths, and his wavered deliveries were dealt with harshly by Finch. More than half of this right-hander’s runs (124) came against the spinners, who, in fairness, weren’t helped by the considerably smaller boundaries and hence the miscued hits also carried over them comfortably.

Steve Smith played his natural game since arriving at the crease and left the muscling style of batting to Finch. The Australian captain did find the boundary by using his wrists and with his ability to pick the gaps on the field, but from India’s perspective, they preferred bowling to Smith than Finch.

Virat Kohli was presented with a tricky situation during the middle phase and in search of a breakthrough, he reverted to Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah for an over each. But knowing that they were his only options to bowl the death overs, Kohli brought Kuldeep into the attack, while Pandya was deployed from the other end. A majority of the runs and boundaries too, came from Kuldeep’s end. Between overs 21-36, Australia gathered 114 runs, going from 102/1 to 216/1 and setting themselves a perfect launch pad to post a total close to 350. But they didn’t make the most of this platform and folded for a total less than 300.

Finch brought up his 8th ODI hundred and had looked ominous from an Indian perspective even after getting to three figures. He had looked to hit the two Indian wrist spinners straight down the ground for much of his innings. And the one time he tried to hit the ball square and into the cow corner, he picked out the deep mid-wicket fielder with a flat hit off Kuldeep. He fell for a 125-ball 124, an innings punctuated by 12 fours and five sixes.

Smith had played the ideal foil for Finch and brought up his 19th ODI half-century, but in trying to up the ante, he too holed out in the deep (at long-off). Kuldeep, who had been under pressure for much of his spell, finished strongly. He added Smith’s wicket to Finch’s and finished with figures of 2/75 in 10 overs, having conceded 55 without taking a wicket in his first seven overs. The Australian middle order didn’t help their team’s cause by being hasty and starting with Glenn Maxwell, the batsmen who you normally expect to ace the death overs, were short on plans and in actuality helped India’s cause with the shots they played. The final ten overs produced only 59 runs and four wickets were lost, with this phase turning the 3rd ODI on its head.

Credit, though, must go to Chahal, Bumrah and every Indian bowler basically, for stemming the run flow in the latter part of the innings. Chahal dismissed Maxwell for the third consecutive time this series, while Bumrah got the wickets of Travis Head and Peter Handscomb with well-disguised slower deliveries.

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