The Indian cricket team managed to salvage a consolation win after beating hosts Australia by 13 runs in the third and final One Day International at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Wednesday. After winning the toss and opting to bat first, the Indians got off to an iffy start with the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan’s wicket, but the duo of Virat Kohli and young gun Shubman Gill piled on a fine 50-plus run stand for the second wicket to get India back in the game. Despite the loss of quick and regular wickets, skipper Kohli anchored the innings to perfection and smashed a fine 63. His innings laid the foundation for the duo of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, who scored 150 runs for the sixth wicket, including scoring 76 in the last five overs.
While Pandya narrowly missed out on his maiden ODI hundred, Jadeja was unbeaten on 66 as India got over the 300-run mark. In reply, Sharduul Thakur and Jasprit Bumrah were on top of their game, as the Australians, despite some fine cameos, could not get over the line. It was Team India’s first win after six ODI losses.
Brief scores: India 302/5 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 63, Hadrik Pandya 90*, Ravindra Jadeja 66*; Ashton Agar 2-44) beat Australia 289 in 49.3 overs (Aaron Finch 75, Alex Carey 38, Glenn Maxwell 59; Jasprit Bumrah 2-43, Shardul Thakur 3-51) by 13 runs.
Here are the talking points from the third ODI between Australia and India.
Did Australia miss a trick by not fielding a specialist third seamer?
Pat Cummins had already pulled himself out from the third One Day International and the T20 International series against India to gear up for the Test series between the two sides, while the Australians also decided to rest Mitchell Starc for the inconsequential third ODI on Wednesday. However, it appeared that the team lacked a third seamer in the game, with no proper support for the duo of Josh Hazlewood and Sean Abbott, who was brought in for the third ODI. Though the duo were impressive with the new ball, they did miss the services of a third seamer. Cameron Green, who was making his ODI debut for the Australian cricket team, was ineffective, giving away 27 in his 4 overs, while Aaron Finch massively underutilized Moises Henriques, giving him just an over to bowl. Spinner Glenn Maxwell opened the bowling attack, but he was unable to create much of an impact.
Gill flourishes with Virat Kohli alongside him
Shubman Gill has been touted as a young gun to watch out for, and the opportunity was ripe for the Kolkata Knight Riders to impress when he was finally given a chance in the third ODI against Australia. Coming in place of Mayank Agarwal in the XI, the talented player got off to a steady start as he saw off the new ball with ease. Despite Josh Hazlewood and Sean Abbott in threatening form, the player took his time and refused to play silly shots. He along with skipper Virat Kohli combined to score 56 runs for the second wicket to give the team a solid foundation. While the skipper was at his best, anchoring the innings, Gill was the more aggressive of the two as he smashed three boundaries and a four in his knock of 33 that came in 39 deliveries. He would have taken huge confidence from his outing in the tough conditions, but would have liked to carry on after getting a start.
Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan make most of their chances
Shardul Thakur, who replaced Navdeep Saini in the XI for the third ODI against Australia, ended the game with figures of 3 for 51, and was his team’s most successful bowler on the night. He was impressive with his slower deliveries, variations and his knuckle balls that wreaked havoc in the middle overs. The Chennai Super Kings bowler had not been at his consistent best in the recent Indian Premier League, but managed to make the most of his chances as he got the crucial wickets of Steven Smith, Moises Henriques and Sean Abbott. T Natarajan, who came into the team for Mohammed Shami, who was rested for the game, started off on a high with the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne, but was taken apart by Glenn Maxwell in the middle overs. However, the pacer came back strongly to dismiss a dangerous Ashton Agar to cap off a memorable day for the Indian pacers.
A better batting display from the Men in Blue
Though the Indian batters managed to score more than 300 times on all three occasions in the series against Australia, they were not at their fluent best. The middle order, especially Shreyas Iyer, had struggled against spin, and while his woes continued in the third ODI as well, the overall batting display would have pleased the Indian management. On a tough track, the Indian batters played cautiously, saw off the new ball, took quick singles and looked to build a partnership after the fall of wickets. The approach also helped the duo of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja score over 70 runs in the last 5 overs. Coming together at 152 for 5 at the start of the 33rd over, the duo refused to play rash shots at the very start and instead were determined to get a good feel of the wicket. Once they got their eyes in, they took apart Sean Abbott, who had been threatening in the first half of the innings, and helped Team India pile more than 300 runs.