Canberra: India finally ends the losing series and snap the last game to their favor by just 13 runs, courtesy of a critical partnership between Jadeja and Pandya that pushed India over 300.
Virat Kohli made some alternations in their team by replacing Chahal with Wrist Spin counterpart Kuldeep, Natrajan in for Shami and Shardhul for Navdeep Saini, and finally the player we have all been talking about, Shubhman Gill, who came in as an opener replacing Mayank Agarwal.
The team was set to a fresh start leading to their third ODI. Australia too rested some of their key players in the likes of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc who were replaced by Aston Agar and Sean Abbot, followed by Cameron Green who came in place of the injured David Warner.
The pitch was apt for a high-scoring game and the conditions were equivalent to that of Sydney but did anticipate some slowness later on in the game. India won the toss for the first time in the series and not surprisingly opted to bat first and went on to start steady with Shikhar alongside his new opening Partner Shubhman Gill.
The innings started on with fewer boundaries and a good rotation of strike before Dhawan chipped to cover point off the ball of Sean Abbot giving Australia an earlier breakthrough, after which Kohli and Gill steadied the ship and played some good front drives before Gill was trapped before stumps by Agar when he attempted to sweep it left of Square leg.
Shreyas did come in and gave a slow start. Struggling to fetch for runs, forced him to hit forward point which went straight to the fielder at cover point. Australia managed to break the spine of the Indian Bowling line up by the 27th over, with the Indian side losing half their side for just 152, particularly with the loss of Kohli’s wicket.
Pandya and Jadeja were the only of the two recognized batsmen that could amplify the innings. Pandya had already played an important inning in the first ODI and India would only expect the same, if not better to take India to at least 250+.
The duo came from a challenging IPL tournament was looking for runs, and Australia bowled to their potential wanting to restrict India to a low total. Little did they know the caliber of the all rounding pair who started pacing their innings from the 40th over and went at 11 per over to demonstrate intelligent innings, playing between gaps and also showing awareness in the field set up.
The half centuries of the duo, especially a much needed 92 of Hardik Pandya took the team to 302/5, giving them something to bowl at. The bowling attack, however, had three fresh faces, especially in the likes of Debutant Natrajan who bowled like he has been playing many ODIs for India, snapped his first wicket getting rid of the inform Marnus Labuschagne.
Followed by that Finch and Smith added 31 runs before Smith was caught behind the stumps off an outside the leg delivery Bowled by Thakur, that gave India a brink of Hope to win this game. But the game was not over when Henriques played a sensible inning and guided his captain to score his half-century, before he found the man at silly mid-on, followed by the wicket of Finch that brought India back to the game, with Australia trailing at 123/4.
Chris Green and Carey were fresh on the wicket and found it difficult to get bat on the ball. Instead, they rotated the strike and took advantage of the oddballs to smash boundaries over deep point and a deep mid-wicket by Green, followed by a Sweep of Carey slightly to the deep Square leg.
However, Kuldeep came hard at Green and bowled a flighted full-length delivery to his leg to induce him to flick over the Square leg area only to be caught by Jadeja who had to run from the Square Fine leg area to just make it for the catch. India and Australia were in the same situation, losing 5 wickets in the 150s, which brought Maxwell to the crease to assist Carey. Maxwell without taking much of his time managed to attack the Indian bowlers, before a miscommunication with Maxwell and a brilliant fielding by Kohli led him to lose his wicket, on 38 that kept Australia to 210/6.
But Australia was playing a very big batting lineup and Ashton Agar, who came in next had no trouble in settling as he too nicked full-length deliveries to the fence. It was the partnership between Maxwell and Agar that was leading Australia to an easy with 42 needed off 39.
However, Bumrah proved how lethal he can be in crunched situations chopped of the bails of Maxwell that laid the turning point in the innings, with 35 needing of 33. Australia still had a chance with Agar on the crease, but the run flow was quite slow. It was in the last ball of the 47th over that Shardhul got his third wicket and India’s 8th. This was followed by a wicket of Agar in the first ball of the following over of Natrajan, which shifted the momentum towards India.
It was only a matter of time that India was smelling victory, which was completed by Bumrah in the last over getting rid of Zampa by a Leg Before wicket. India will certainly take a lot of positives from this match proceeding to the 1st T20I that will be played in the same venue.