India vs Australia 2017, 4th ODI: Kedar Jadhav's untimely dismissal is SK Turning Point of the match
Coming into this game, Australia were on a wretched run of 11 successive defeats in completed ODIs away from home. With the series already out of their reach, the morale within their camp must have been quite low. However, Steven Smith's team managed to pick themselves up and emphatically broke their recent drought by sealing a 21-run victory in the fourth ODI against India at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.
Despite posting a formidable total of 334 from their 50 overs, this match also appeared to be slipping out of the visitors' grasp as the in-form Indian batsmen looked intent on securing another successful chase. However, in the game's tipping point, Kane Richardson helped Australia wrest control of the proceedings by dismissing a well-set Kedar Jadhav during the 46th over of the innings.
Here's how Jadhav's dismissal set off a chain of disastrous events for India.
Rain break derails India's momentum
With Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane taking the attack to the opposition, India began their chase on a confident note. The openers looked completely at ease against Australia's seamers. An array of shots from the duo enabled the hosts to maintain a hold on the required run-rate.
After stitching together a 106-run stand for the first wicket, Rahane perished to Richardson and provided a window of opportunity for the tourists to capitalise on. Rohit and Virat Kohli were involved in a fatal case of miscommunication. The former paid the price for their indecisive running between the wickets. The Indian captain soon followed the openers to the dressing room and sent a previously raucous crowd into a state of utter disbelief.
Hardik Pandya and Jadhav resuscitated India's chase by forming a productive combination in the middle-overs. The all-rounder was in his elements yet again even as Australian skipper Steven Smith refused to protect Adam Zampa from the firing line. However, the leg-spinner had the last laugh by ending Pandya's entertaining cameo. When India needed 83 runs off 53 deliveries, a light drizzle interrupted play and impeded their recently acquired momentum.
Richardson rises to the occasion
With play resuming after the brief delay, Manish Pandey took matters into his own hands by targeting the boundary earnestly. Smith did not allow Zampa to complete his quota of ten overs and brought Richardson back into the attack. The accurate seamer immediately built pressure by conceding just 5 runs from the 44th over.
Richardson got his reward in his next over when he procured the vital scalp of Jadhav. Relying on a clever change of pace, the 26-year old's slower delivery outfoxed the dynamic batsman. The man from Pune was unable to read the variation and went through with an ungainly heave in spite of not being in a position to do so. The ball only went as far as Aaron Finch who made no mistake at long-off.
Indian lower-order falter under duress
As MS Dhoni walked into the arena, the crowd welcomed him with a loud cheer. India required 46 runs from 24 deliveries, an equation which was easily attainable in this day and age. But the Australians sensed a great chance to expose the home team's fragile lower-order in a situation of considerable duress.
Pat Cummins, who had operated with sharp pace on a non-conducive surface, castled Manish Pandey with an unplayable delivery. Apart from conceding a boundary, he ensured that the visitors remained in the driver's seat by sending down a tidy over.
With the equation coming down to 40 runs off 18 balls, India were in dire need of a slew of big hits. Dhoni brought the crowd back into life by unleashing a powerful six over the cover region. However, the veteran wicket-keeper batsman dragged a slower one onto his stumps in the very next delivery. Richardson's dismissal all but sealed the game for Australia. The specialist bowlers were unable to get the home side any closer to the target and the visitors completed a much-needed consolation victory.