Australia claim series to leave India shell-shocked

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Australia claim series to leave India shell-shocked

14 Mar 2019 014 Views Yash Mittal

The Big Picture

When India last lost an ODI series to Australia at home, the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and Ricky Ponting were still a few years away from retirement, the phenomenon of Virat Kohli was yet to be unleashed, Trump was still a few years of taking over as the US President and off-course Brexit wasn't even a thought. That was 2009. Its been ten years since the Aussies beat India in India in an ODI series, and the fact that it came sans their two best batsmen in Smith and Warner and a 0-2 deficit makes it even more astounding.

Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb have been the cornerstone of the visitors' batting-unit in the series and the duo carried on with the same in the decider at Delhi. After losing Aaron Finch for 27, the duo stitched a 99-run stand for the second wicket with Khawaja notching up his second ton of the series while Handscomb too brought up his half-century. At 2-175, the duo looked prime to take Australia past the total of 300, but Bhuvneshwar struck in his second spell to account for Khawaja before Maxwell and Handscomb followed to leave the visitors reeling at 4-182.

Marcus Stoinis [20] and Ashton Turner [20] threatened with a 28-run partnership but Kuldeep Yadav claimed the all-important wicket of the latter while Marcus Stoinis had his stumps castled by Bhuvi [3-58]. But Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins got some crucial runs for the Aussies at the death, including three boundaries off Jasprit Bumrah's over to push the target to a competitive 9-272.

India had played just three specialist batsmen in Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli, so the onus was on the trio to spearhead the run-chase. But, insipid shot-selection, disciplined bowling, and a slow track meant the Men in Blue kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Shikhar Dhawan edged a wide ball off Pat Cummins for 12, as did Virat Kohli off Marcus Stoinis.

Both, Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar had a perfect opportunity to lay the marker on their spot for the World Cup XI, but unfortunately, neither of them took their chances. While Pant edged to first slip off Nathan Lyon, Vijay Shankar, in trying to clear the mid-wicket boundary holed out at long-on. Rohit Sharma struggled against the wrist-spin of Adam Zampa and was given two reprieves off successive deliveries- firstly when Alex Carey failed to grab the outside edge and off the very next ball when the right-hander chipped the ball straight to short-cover for Maxwell to make a hash of it.

But, Rohit's attempts to give his wicket away to Zampa finally bore fruits in the 29th over, as he tried to run down the track for a slog, only to see lose his bat as well as his wicket as Alex Carey completed an easy stumping. Ravindra Jadeja did not hang around for long, as he was found short of the crease as Alex Carey dislodged his stumps. At 6-132, it looked like things would get wrapped up quickly.

But, Bhuvneshwar Kumar [46] once again gave an account of his value with the bat, as he along with Jadhav stitched a 93-run stand to give India some hope. Both batsmen played some delightful strokes and rotated the strike pretty well. But, with the asking run-rate climbing with every ball, the pressure got to the duo as they holed out off successive deliveries from Cummins and Richardson to effectively end India's challenge and their streak of not losing an ODI series at home since 2015.

Brief Score- Australia [9-272, Khawaja 100, Handscomb 52, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-48] beat India [237, Rohit 56, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 46, Pat Cummins 2-38] by 35 runs

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The Number Story-

3rd- Rohit Sharma, during his 89-ball-56 became the joint-third fastest to reach 8,000 ODI runs for Team India.

Fastest to 8,000 ODI runs-

Virat Kohli- 175 innings

AB de Villiers- 185 innings

Sourav Ganguly/ROHIT SHARMA- 200 innings

1st- ODI series win for Australia in India since 2009. Since then, the Aussies have lost 0-1 [2010], 2-3 [2013] and 1-4 [2017] in India.

1st- ODI series win for the Aussies since January 2017. Their last ODI series win was against Pakistan in the summer of 2016-17.

1st- ODI series loss for India under the leadership of Virat Kohli in any format of the game. This was also India's first ODI series loss at home since the 203 defeat they suffered at the hands of the Proteas in October of 2015.

Yash Mittal

Bharat Army Cricket Writer

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