Lastly, some cheer


Canberra, December 2

Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah rediscovered his mojo and the Indian team its winning ways in a morale-lifting 13-run win over Australia in the third and final ODI here today, salvaging some pride in a 1-2 series defeat.

The in-form Hardik Pandya blasted an unbeaten 92 off 76 balls and Ravindra Jadeja’s useful 66 off 50 took India to a healthy 302/5 in 50 overs after an inept show in the first 30 overs. It was at least 30 runs short of a par score on a good batting track but a rejigged bowling attack managed to bowl the home team out for 289 in 49.3 overs.

Shardul Thakur (3/51) and debutant Thangarasu Natarajan (2/70 in 10 overs) did their bit but it was Bumrah’s 2/43 off 9.3 overs — a controlled effort with some swing upfront and the dismissal of a marauding Glenn Maxwell in the nick of time — which turned the match in India’s favour.

Bumrah did the most important thing by bowling one in the blockhole to remove the dangerous Maxwell (59 off 38 balls), who had exposed the stumps in trying to free his arms. Maxwell was in a mood to punish the bowlers and all he needed was to see off Bumrah and attack the others, as he had been doing.

Natarajan started bowling his yorkers under pressure and Thakur also chipped in with crucial wickets.

Dead rubber

The inconsequential match became something of consequence for Virat Kohli and his men as they gear up for the next white-ball series, three T20Is in less than 48 hours. India’s bowling attack had a different look and it did perform way better than in the first two games.

Natarajan was very steady in his first spell and got his maiden wicket when Marnus Labuschagne (7), in an unfamiliar role as opener, dragged a wide delivery back onto the stumps. Thakur, replacing a rested Mohammed Shami, was lucky when Steve Smith (7) tried to tickle one down from the ‘fifth stump’ line, to be caught by KL Rahul.

Moises Henriques (22) and skipper Aaron Finch (75) looked good during their 51-run stand for the third wicket before the former failed to keep a pull shot down off Thakur’s bowling. However, what was more heartening was Kuldeep Yadav’s (1/57 in 10 overs) restrained bowling in the middle overs with the last-over punishment by Maxwell being more of an aberration.

Yadav’s flight was back and so was the dip in the air that used to create confusion in the minds of batsmen. Debutant Cameron Green (21) played an uppish slog sweep off Yadav, which was snapped inches off the ground by Jadeja. Jadeja (1/62 in 10 overs) topped up a solid batting show with the prized wicket of the rival captain Finch as Shikhar Dhawan managed to make an easy catch look difficult at long-on.

Maxwell and the calm Alex Carey (38 off 42 balls) seemed set to take their team home, but Carey went for non-existent single and was run out.

Pandya-Jadeja fight

Earlier, Pandya and Jadeja helped India make an impressive recovery after the team struggled during the first 30 overs with skipper Kohli’s fighting half-century being the only bright spot.

Coming together in the 32nd over, Pandya and Jadeja stitched 150 runs for the sixth wicket to change the complexion of the game. It had seemed India would barely reach 250, but Pandya and Jadeja changed the story.

They took some time to settle down before opening the floodgates, scoring 53 runs from the 46th to 48th overs. In all, 76 runs came from the last five overs.

Pandya’s innings had seven fours and one six while Jadeja was at his best, hitting five boundaries and three sixes. — PTI





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