Embarrassing act as Aussies stun cricket

Publish Date
Thursday, 23 March 2023, 12:27PM

Australia has finished its tour of India in stunning fashion, reclaiming the world No. 1 ranking with a 21-run win in the third ODI.

Spinners Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar turned the decider in Chennai to hand India their first series defeat at home since an Usman Khawaja-led Aussie victory in 2019.

After bowling the visitors out for 269 in 49 overs, the hosts had the match in hand with Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya at the crease at 4/185, needing less than a run a ball to claim victory.

But a double strike from Agar turned the match. First he removed in-form Kohli (54) before the world’s top-rated Twenty20 batter Suryakumar Yadav strolled to the crease with huge pressure on his place in the side.

Yadav had been trabbed LBW by Mitchell Starc with the first balls he faced in the first and second ODIs — and in embarrassing scenes was unable to avoid the same fate as Agar struck immediately.

Mitchell Marsh’s 47 runs and Alex Carey’s 38 runs had carried Australia to a par score of 269 runs (49 overs). In reply, India was bowled out for 248 runs (49.1 overs) with Virat Kohli’s half-century going in vain.

The visitors won the series 2-1 after dropping the first match. Marsh was named player of the series for scoring 194 runs in three innings.

“It is just natural aggression when I am batting. I have thoroughly enjoyed it,” Marsh said, “I was really glad to come in and perform, as I am coming off an extended break.”

After winning the toss and opting to bat, Australia sped off to a good start with Marsh and Travis Head (33) putting on 68 runs off 65 balls.

Indian pacers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj struggled with the new ball, but Hardik Pandya took 3-44 in eight overs to bring India back into the game.

First, Pandya had Head caught at square leg and three balls later Steve Smith was caught behind for duck. Australia was down to 85-3 within 3.4 overs when Pandya also trapped Marsh lbw.

Wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav picked up 3-56, dismissing both David Warner (23) and Marnus Labuschagne (28) as Australia was reduced to 138-5 in 28.1 overs.

Warner, who came in at number four, added 40 runs with Labuschagne for the fourth wicket before the duo fell in the space of four overs.

Carey held the lower order together as he stitched a 58-run partnership with Marcus Stoinis (25). While the latter was out caught off Axar Patel (2-57) in the 37th over, Yadav bowled Carey to make it 203-7 in the 39th.

Australia’s tail wagged hard enough to add 66 runs for the final three wickets, which proved vital.

Sean Abbott scored 26 off 23 balls, with Ashton Agar scoring 17 runs. Mitchell Starc and Zampa added 10 runs each to push Australia to a challenging total.

India’s chase began on a positive note with openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill adding 65 runs off 55 balls.

But the duo fell within a space of 19 balls to leave India at 77-2. Sharma was caught off Abbott after scoring 30 off 17 balls, while Zampa picked his first of the night, trapping Gill lbw for 37 off 49 balls.

Kohli spearheaded the chase thereafter scoring a sedate 54 off 72 balls, including two fours and a six. He added 69 runs for the third wicket with Lockesh Rahul (32), before the latter holed out off Zampa, who has his best figures on Indian soil.

India went from 146-3 to 151-4, as Patel (2) was run-out after a mix-up with Kohli, who had reached his 64th ODI half-century off 61 balls.

He added 34 runs with Pandya but the turning point came in the 36th over when Kohli was caught at long off.

Zampa returned to dismiss Pandya, who scored 40 off 40 balls, and Ravindra Jadeja (18) as India lost its first bilateral home ODI series since 2019.

The leg spinner was named player of the match.

“I have had some success in India,” Zampa said. “It is a tough place to come and always a huge challenge to play here. I don’t think I deserve this tonight, kudos to the guys who bowled before me. We had trust in our process and in our game plan.”

Australia was also the last team to win an ODI series here, and in this duration, India had won seven consecutive bilateral contests at home.

India had won the first ODI by five wickets, and Australia had bounced back with a 10-wicket win.

“I don’t think it was too many runs,” said Sharma, the Indian skipper. “The wicket was challenging in the second innings but we didn’t bat well enough. We failed to put up partnerships today. We will play a World Cup in these conditions in six months’ time and we need to improve.”

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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