Hardik Pandya (3/44) and Kuldeep Yadav (3/56) shone with the ball as India bowled out Australia for 269 in 49 overs in the third and deciding ODI in Chennai on Wednesday, March 22. Mohammed Siraj (2/37) and Axar Patel (2/57) also chipped in as Australia paid the price for batters not converting starts.
Batting first after winning the toss, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh yet again got the Aussies off to a solid start, adding 68 for the opening wicket. While both batters looked in good touch and found the boundaries at regular intervals, India’s bowlers ensured Australia did not score at a rapid pace.
Head could have been dismissed for 27 when he pulled Pandya to deep square leg, but Shubman Gill misjudged the catch, diving forward. Luckily, India did not suffer due to the let-off as Head (33 off 31) fell in the same over, top-edging a short and wide delivery while attempting an upper cut.
Australian skipper Steven Smith was back in the hut for a duck as he nicked a delivery from Pandya while attempting an expansive drive outside off stump. Marsh looked set for yet another half-century. However, he fell three short, dragging a length delivery from Pandya back onto his stumps.
David Warner, batting in the middle-order, and Marnus Labuschagne attempted a rescue act. They added 40 for the fourth wicket, but both batters failed to convert their starts. Warner reached 23 before gifting his wicket away. He came down the track, but was beaten in flight by Kuldeep. The left-hander went ahead with the stroke and only managed to miscue the ball high in the air.
Labuschagne (28) also played a poor shot to be dismissed by Kuldeep. The right-handed batter danced down the track and lofted a stroke straight to long-off, failing to get to the pitch of the ball.
Alex Carey and Marcus Stoinis hung around and added 58 runs for the sixth wicket. Like Warner and Labuschagne, though, the duo too were unable to convert their promising starts into substantial knocks. Carey looked threatening and even smacked Axar for a six. The defiant stand was broken when Stoinis (25) miscued a lofted hit off Axar to long-on.
Carey (38) was undone by a beauty from Kuldeep. The left-arm wrist-spinner got a delivery to land on middle and leg. The ball turned sharply away from the southpaw and hit off-stump, leaving the batter stunned.
Australian lower-order takes team past 260
At 203/7, Australia were in danger of being bowled out for under 250. However, Sean Abbott (26) and Ashton Agar (17) added 42 runs for the eighth wicket to give the batting side’s total some respectability.
Both batters launched Axar for a six each in the 45th over. However, the left-arm spinner had the last laugh, cleaning up Abbott with a flat and quick delivery as the right-hander went for another aggressive stroke.
Agar’s defiance ended when he pulled a short ball from Siraj straight to deep midwicket. Mitchell Starc (10) and Adam Zampa (10) added a handy 22 for the last wicket.
Starc even pulled Siraj for a maximum over deep backward square leg before perishing in the same over, trying to take on another bouncer.
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