It was not India’s day afterall, as Australia avenged the series defeat at home with a series ODI win of their own.
It was a decade ago that the Kangaroos won an ODI series in India. A slew of stronger sides had tried their hands to repeat the feat, only to leave empty handed.
As a result they became only the fifth team to win a series after trailing 0-2 and the first Australian outfit to have ever done the same in 50-over matches.
With the series being viewed as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup, the defeat will raise more questions for the Indians than answer, especially in the batting order.
The Men in Blue’s opening order has underperformed while the middle order has been anything but supportive. The absence of MS Dhoni in the middle of the series will also be a talking point.
Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb have put a strong case before the selectors with impressive performances.
After captain Aaron Finch won the toss and chose to bat first at New Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, Khwaja and Handscomb weaved a solid partnership as Australia dominated the first 30 overs of the innings. Of the two, it was Usman cracked a timely 100 as the visitors glided at 175/1.
Usman Khawaja (106) and Adam Zampa (3 for 46) star as Australia clinched the series 3-2.— Sacnilk Sports (@SacnilkSports) March 13, 2019
AUS – 272/9 (50)
IND – 237/10 (50) lost by 35 runs#INDvsAUS #indvsaus5thodi #UsmanKhawaja #Cricket pic.twitter.com/uatTYM8keh
It was the Aussie opener’s second ton of the series besides the third consecutive 90-plus knock.
However, India made a solid comeback in the innings with some quick wickets. After the dismissal of Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, and Handscomb were also sent back to pavilion within the span of runs.
Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mohammed Shami all picked up wickets in this period.
Australia’s from Mohali hero Ashton Turner threatened with his moves, but he was tamed by Kuldeep.
Bhuvneshwar and Shami then sent Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey respectively off successive overs to wrap up the Aussie innings. But Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson put up solid 34-run stand for the 8th wicket to help push Australia’s final tally past the 260-run mark.
The second innings started very inauspiciously as inform Cummings edged Shikhar Dhawan in the fourth over with the score standing at 15/1.
Just when it felt that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma had found their feet, Stoinis outwitted the Indian skipper to yet another edged wicket.
India kept on losing wickets consistently with not much help from Rishabh Pant (16), Vijay Shankar (16), and Ravindra Jadeja (0). Rohit Sharma’s patience also wore of soon after, as he returned with a knock of 56 runs.
As the match looked out of the host’s hands, help came from unlikely quarters as Kedar Jadhav (44) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (46) displayed a rare fight. The two took the match down to the wire with 50 runs needed from 25 balls. However, two wickets off two consecutive balls from Cummins and Richardson changed the course of the match – and the series.