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AUS vs IND, 3rd T20I: India unable to whitewash hosts as Wade, Maxwell star

Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Swepson and Adam Zampa were the heroes of the third and final T20 International against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground as the hosts prevented a series clean-sweep. On a used track, the Indians struggled in their run chase of 187 as the leg spinners from the rival camp, Swepson and Zampa, impressed with their accuracy and precision on Tuesday. The former did not concede a single four or a six in his quota of four overs and also dismissed three players, while Zampa killed the run chase by sending back in-form Hardik Pandya in the 18th over of the innings with a top edge from the all-rounder. 

Indian skipper Virat Kohli was given three chances in his knock of 85 that came in 61 balls on a day when both sides stuttered on the field. Despite getting off to a fine start, Kohli was unable to latch on in the middle overs (his weak link in T20s has been his inability to accelerate in the middle overs of late), which only increased the pressure in the death overs, as India were left with a stiff 75 to get off the last 5 overs. Eventually, Kohli was out while looking to attack Andrew Tye in the 18th over, which effectively ended the game. Though Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar struck some big blows in the last over, the match was well within grasp of the Australian cricket team by then. 

Also Read: We are finding ways to come back and give the opposition a scare: Virat Kohli

Earlier in the day, the Indian skipper won the toss and yet again asked the rival team to bat first. The decision, however, did not turn out to be the best one as Matthew Wade started off from where he had left in the last match. Despite the fall of Aaron Finch and Steven Smith early, the Indians were hardly given a breather with Wade attacking the bowlers constantly. Once he was joined by Glenn Maxwell in the 10th over of the innings, the visiting team could only watch in despair as the Aussie duo punished them with their aggression and innovation. Wade got to his career best 80 in just 53 balls, while Maxwell, who was given two chances, was at his cheeky best especially against spinner Yuzvendra Chahal as he smashed 54 in 36 deliveries. Yet again, none of the Indian bowlers except T Natarajan could leave a mark as India desperately needs to rework the plan of playing with just five specialist bowlers in the format. 

Though Deepak Chahar started off with some swing movement early on and Washington Sundar dismissed Aaron Finch, who returned to the XI after missing the last game due to an injury, upfront, the new ball bowlers were unable to carry on the momentum as Wade took them apart after getting his eye in. He attacked the short balls that were sent down by Chahar while Sundar too was not spared as the wicket-keeper scoring 34 runs in the powerplay overs. Overall, Australia ended with 51 in the first six overs. 

After Smith was sent back – bowled off a loopy offbreak delivery by Sundar – the duo of Maxwell and Wade combined to put on 90 in 52 balls. Yuzvendra Chahal, who has a good record against Maxwell, was the target of the two batsmen as they attacked his lines and lengths with a number of reverse hits. Maxwell was, in particular, harsh on Chahal, taking him for 21 runs in the nine balls that he faced at a strike rate of over 233. The batsman also took Shardul Thakur apart for 21 runs, although the bowler had the last laugh when he trapped Wade plumb with a yorker in the penultimate over. 

Maxwell returned with the new ball and made an impact straightaway as he struck in the very first over, dismissing KL Rahul for a duck. He conceded just 20 runs in his 3 overs and was the difference in the end. Despite the early setback, skipper Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan steadied the ship, with the former leading the charge. He attacked Daniel Sams and Sean Abbott with clever shots, and managed to reach his 50 in 41 deliveries. However, he lost the pace in the middle overs, which saw the asking rate climb up to 15 in the last five overs. Despite the best efforts of Hardik Pandya, the task became improbable once Zampa was brought back into the attack. 

The spinner found bounce and turn as he troubled Pandya, who eventually miscued one to short third man after looking good in his brief stay of 13 balls where he scored 20 runs. Swepson, however, was the difference in the game as he got the wickets of Dhawan, Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer. After giving away just six runs in his first over, the leg spinner struck in his second over as Dhawan holed one out to deep midwicket. He troubled Kohli, who has been struggling against spin of late, with clever variations, and the result was that the Indian could just score 17 off the 14 balls that he faced against him. Team India could not score a single boundary for over six overs in the middle overs, which is evidence of how tight Zampa and Swepson were. 

Despite the loss, India managed to win the series 2-1, after losing the ODIs 1-2. The focus now shifts to the four-match Test series that will begin with a Day-Night Test at Adelaide from December 17. 

Brief Scores: Australia 186 for 5 (Wade 80, Maxwell 54, Sundar 2-34, Natarajan 1-33) beat India 174 for 7 (Kohli 85, Swepson 3-23, Zampa 1-21) by 12 runs


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