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IND vs AUS, 3rd ODI: Those are the kind of comebacks you make, says Virat Kohli after the win at Manuka Oval

India managed to register a compensatory win over Australia in the final match of the three-match ODIs at Manuka Oval in Canberra on Wednesday. Though it was a dead rubber duel as the Aaron Finch-led side had won the series in the previous one-dayer, the result of the final contest could have ended in the hosts’ favor, if not for the economical exhibitions from pacers Shardul Thakur and debutant T Natarajan in the last stages of the game that ensured the tourists’ triumph by 13 runs. Also, this was India’s first win in the last six ODIs and overall third victory in nine matches played this year.

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Winning the toss and opting to bat first, the Men in Blue posted a competitive target of 303 runs credits to all-rounders Hardik Pandya (92*) and Ravindra Jadeja (66*) for anchoring the innings and steering with a flurry of boundaries in the last few overs. The duo contributed racked 76 runs in the last five overs, eventually leading to an unbeaten tally of 150 runs for the sixth-wicket, which is now India’s third-best sixth-wicket stand in the 50-over format.

The opening partnership didn’t last long as Shikhar Dhawan (16, 27b) got out while trying to loft an outside off-stump delivery. Shubman Gill (33) then stitched a 56-run partnership alongside skipper Virat Kohli, and before the duo could contribute with the scoring, Finch brought in Ashton Agar who got the better of the former on a leg-before in the penultimate ball of the 16th over. Leggi Adam Zampa was successful in luring Shreyas Iyer (19, 21b) for a powerful hit that was caught by Marnus Labuschagne at backward point, and a few overs later, KL Rahul (5, 11b) departed to a peach of a delivery from Agar.

I would have liked to go on a bit longer, says Kohli

Kohli, who scored 63 off 78 deliveries with 5 fours, was pretty satisfied with the team’s effort and lauded the entire unit for the comeback in the third ODI especially after the consecutive defeats in the first two matches.

“We were put under the pump in the first half and in the second half of Australia’s innings. Shubman and others coming in, it brings in a bit of freshness. I think the pitch was much better for the bowlers. So the confidence levels go up. Playing international cricket for so long, that’s the challenge you face and those are the kind of comebacks you make. We were clinical with the ball and in the field. Happy with the performance and hopefully we take the momentum forward,” said Kohli in the post-match presentation.

He added, “I would have liked to go on a bit longer, but it was a great partnership between Pandya and Jadeja. The team needed that kind of boost. That is needed when you play a team like Australia.”

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Meanwhile, Virat Kohli became the fastest cricketer to reach 12,000 runs in ODI cricket as he reached the milestone in 242 innings, beating the batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar who had earlier held the record in 300 innings.

Among Indian bowlers, Shardul Thakur impressed with figures 10-1-51-3 in what was his first match of the ongoing tour. He dismissed the likes of Steve Smith (7, 22b) and Moises Henriques (22, 31b) and troubled the Aussies with the pace and bounce throughout. Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja picked a wicket each in their allotted quota of ten overs. Pacers Jasprit Bumrah (2/43) and Natarajan (2/70) found momentum in the latter stages of the match and restricted Finch’s men from chasing down the total.

India will lock horns with Australia in the upcoming 3-match T20Is the first of which would be played on December 4 at Manuka Oval.

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V Shashank
A cricket aficionado who has been following the game since the historic Ashes 2013-14. "People throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones." - Sachin Tendulkar


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