India displayed another splendid performance and defeated Australia in the third ODI at Indore on Sunday to win the five-match series 3-0. India achieved the target of 293 in 47.5 overs at the loss of five wickets.
Three main contributors to team’s good show were openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya as each one of them hit a half-century. Manish Pandey played responsibly too and remained unbeaten at 36.
However, it was Pandya who displayed some excellent strokeplay at the crucial phase of the game to see the team home. Pandya got out at 78, but by that time the statistics were already in India’s favour. Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni were at the crease when the team achieved the target of 293.
Chasing a score of 293, Indian opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma hit half-centuries to put India on a sound footing. After Rohit Sharma got out at 71 and Ajinkya Rahane at 70, Virat Kohli tried to consolidate the openers’ good work but he lost his wicket at 28. Kedar Jadhav was next to go at 2.
Earlier, Australian opener Aaron Finch, playing his first game of the series, struck a fluent century before India bounced back in the last 10 overs to restrict Australia to 293 for six in the third ODI here.
Finch, who replaced young Hilton Cartright after recovering from a calf injury, made an instant impact with a classy 124 after skipper Steve Smith won the toss for the first time in the series and elected to bat.
Trailing 0-2 in the five-match series, the Australians desperately needed a top-order batsman to produce such a knock.
Exploiting a flat Holkar track, Finch added 70 runs for the opening wicket with David Warner (42) and raised a 154-run partnership with Smith for the second wicket.
Smith (63 off 71) happily played second-fiddle during his partnership with Finch, whose footwork was impeccable. He rendered the stock balls of both the wrist spinners ineffective, hitting four of his five sixes on ‘googlies’.
Finch, whose knock came off 125 balls, decorated his eighth ODI century with 17 boundaries including five sixes.
A docile pitch to deal with, Indian bowlers hardly troubled the Australians as Kuldeep Yadav (2/75) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1/54) largely remained ineffective.
Finch’s dominance against Kuldeep was clear from the fact that he collected 41 runs off the 26 balls he faced from the Chinaman.
However, the hosts staged a remarkable comeback in the last 10 overs of the game after the fall of Finch, giving away just 59 runs and taking four wickets.
It all started in the last ball of the 38th over when Finch lofted Kuldeep to Kedar Jadhav at deep-midwicket.
The stage was set for Australia to go for the kill, being placed 234 for two in 40 overs, but they lost Smith and Glenn Maxwell (5) in successive balls.
Kuldeep saw the back of Smith, caught at long-off, while Chahal had Maxwell stumped.
Bumrah got rid of Travis Head (4) and Peter Handscomb (3), leaving Australia in tatters. They could never get the fillip, which was there to take after a stupendous start even as Marcus Stoinis took the side close to 300 with his unbeaten 27.
Earlier, a cautious approach by both Warner and Finch provided Australia their best start of the series.
There was hardly any help for the bowlers but both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Bumrah remained disciplined.
The visitors scored 49 runs in the first 10 overs with Warner finding three boundaries off Bhuvneshwar and Finch hitting the same number of fours off Bumrah in this period.
Captain Virat Kohli replaced them with Chahal and Hardik Pandya. Warner, who had got his eye in, hit the first six of the innings as he lofted Chahal flat and hard over long-on.
Pandya provided India their first breakthrough by dismissing Warner, who did not move his feet while trying to punch it away and was bowled.
(With agency inputs)