With comprehensive wins over Team India in the first and second ODI, Australia has now wrapped up the 3-match series by 2-0 and would eye for a whitewash in the final contest in Canberra. Led by Aaron Finch, the Aussies came up with an even stronger batting attack than the previous duel and set a whopping 390-run target to chase.
Skipper Aaron Finch (60, 69b) took his time to settle and thus anchored from an end while his opening partner, David Warner, took on the Indian bowlers from the first over. The latter played an aggressive knock throughout before he was run-out by Shreyas Iyer when batting on 83 off 77 deliveries.
The duo’s departure brought in Steven Smith who scored a 64-ball 104 that comprised 14 fours and 2 sixes, and alongside Marnus Labuschagne (70, 61b) steered Australia to yet another gigantic score. Once again, Glenn Maxwell rendered a mighty blow onto the Indian bowling attack, scoring an unbeaten 29-ball 63 that had 4 fours and as many sixes, and finish off the innings for the hosts.
In response, India amassed 338 runs, courtesy of the knocks from skipper Virat Kohli (89, 87b) and KL Rahul (76, 66b), but eventually fell short by 51 runs. The Men in Blue would now aim for a compensatory win in the dead-rubber feud at Manuka oval.
“It was a perfect performance with the bat. There was no extra talk or game plan. Very pleased to wrap it up in two games and win the series. A quicker innings from me would have been better, but it’s a bit of a trade-off and I think we set the foundation. Smithy was incredible as usual, and Warner got it off from the middle every time as well. Moises bowled really well defensively including his cutters, and as Virat said, we got a bit of a blueprint from Hardik, by taking the pace off the ball,” said Finch in the post-match presentation.
Against India, you need to score big totals: Steve Smith
Steve Smith, who was awarded his second ‘Man of the Match’ award in the ongoing three-match series, mentioned that it is always challenging against a strong team like India and they needed to score mammoth totals. The 31-year-old further spoke a bit about the difference in his batting approach when he was competing in IPL 2020 few and now in the ODI series underway.
“I felt good from ball one. Got myself in and went hard. It was another great foundation set by Finchy and Davey. That enabled me and Maxi to go hard at the back end. It is just summing up conditions and what’s in front of you. Against India, you need to score big totals. It was just about taking the game on. Fortunately, it has come off in the last couple of games.”
He added, “I tried to whack the ball a bit too hard in the IPL, now I have started to hit the ball with a bit more finesse which is probably working better for me. I am just playing nice cricketing shots.
Smith has had a great run so far in ODIs played this year. In 8 innings, he has racked 561 runs at an average of 70.12 and a strike rate of 108.30, comprising three centuries and two half-centuries. Overall against India, he now averages over 63, with scores of 98, 131, 105, and finally 104 in the last four innings. When asked about his records, Smith replied that they don’t bother him much as it is always good to score for the team and get them to a winning position.
“It doesn’t bother me. Nice to score runs again for the team and get us to a good total. The boys were outstanding in the field as well. The guys bowled really well and yeah, nice performance,” said the Sydney-born cricketer in conclusion.
Among Australian bowlers, pacers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood grabbed three and two wickets respectively. Leggie Adam Zampa finished with figures of 2/62 that comprised a crucial wicket of KL Rahul. Both Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques grabbed 1/34 in their quota of 7 and 5 overs respectively while Mitchell Starc conceded 82 runs but failed to grab a solitary wicket.
Both teams will lock horns in the third and final ODI on December 2 at Manuka Oval, in Canberra.
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