Indore: India put up another dominant performance in the third ODI against Australia as they cruised to a five-wicket win at the Holkar Stadium in Indore to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.
With this win, India climbed to the top of the ICC ODI rankings and it was a perfect celebration of the tenth anniversary of their inaugural World T20 win in South Africa.
Also, Virat Kohli has equalled MS Dhoni’s record of most successive ODI wins (9) and now has also won six bilateral series in a row.
Hardik Pandya who was promoted up the order at number four made the most of his opportunity as he smashed his way to magnificent 78 which consisted of five fours and four sixes, after openers Rohit Sharma (71) and Ajinkya Rahane (70) set up the chase beautifully. The duo shared a 139-run opening stand to build a platform from where Pandya took over. Chasing 294, the hosts always looked to be in control as they played with a mixture of aggression and defense.
However, the Australians sniffed a comeback when both Rohit and Rahane departed in quick time but the Manish Pandey (36 n.o) along with Dhoni (3 n.o) ensured that things were under control as they won the match with 2.1 overs to spare. Nathan Coulter-Nile, who had by far been the best bowler for the Australians in the series took one wicket giving away 58 runs. Pat Cummins, the other pacer was the most successful bowler for them in the match as he scalped the prized wickets of Rahane and Hardik Pandya, conceding 54 runs. Ashton Agar and Kane Richardson took a wicket apiece.
Earlier, Aussie skipper Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat first. Aaron Finch, who made a comeback to the team after an injury provided the visitors with a much-needed start alongside David Warner (42). They put up 70 runs for the first wicket before Warner was bowled by Pandya. However Finch continued with the way he was and made his way to a scintillating 124 of 125 balls, on his return that made sure that the Aussies put up a huge total. Smith too contributed with 63 runs. Things were going well according to plan and they looked all set for 330-340 but the Indian bowlers led by Kuldeep Yadav, fought back to restrict them to 293/6.
The Chahal-Dhoni combination once again got the better of Glenn Maxwell at a time when he was looking to free his arms. Yadav ended up with two wickets while Jasprit Bumrah too scalped a similar number of wickets at the expense of 52 runs.
Australia 293/6 (Aaron Finch 124, Steve Smith 63; Jasprit Bumrah 2/52) lost to India 294/5 in 47.5 overs (Hardik Pandya 78, Rohit Sharma 71; Pat Cummins 2/54) by 5 wickets.