After losing five consecutive international ODI matches, India has finally ended the drought by winning the 3rd ODI against Australia. Although India lost the series, this win will give them enough confidence and momentum ahead of the T20I series.
After winning the 3rd ODI, India captain Virat Kohli said – “Playing international cricket for so long, that’s the challenge you face, and those are the kind of comebacks you make. We were clinical with the ball and in the field. Happy with the performance, and hopefully, we take the momentum forward.”
Australia had won the first two matches of the series convincingly courtesy of brilliant batting performances by Aussies and an excess of 350 runs scored in both the matches.
Steve Smith was the architect behind the team, scoring such high totals against a quality bowling line-up. He had scored two back-to-back centuries in just 63 odd deliveries. Steve Smith loves to play and score centuries against India.
Then, Glen Maxwell’s quick-fire cameos had ensured that they (Australia) score the bonus runs and go beyond 370. He had left all his bad-form of IPL and came back strong for the national side.
Before the 3rd ODI of the series, the Indian bowling department had failed to pick even a single wicket in the power-play (1-10 overs) for five ODI consecutive matches. And that has been the main reason for the team’s inability to restrict the opposition below 300.
India’s two premium fast-bowlers, Shami and Bumrah, not taking wickets with the new ball had allowed the Aussies to charge on the spinners in the middle overs. Wickets in hand had given a platform to batsmen like Smith, Labuschagne, and Maxwell to bat more freely and accelerate in the slog overs.
With Hardik Pandya, not bowling due to a fitness issue, India missed a 6th bowling option, which could have been handy, especially when the main bowler had an off day with the ball.
However, if not with the ball, he (Pandya) had compensated with the bat. He is the highest run-getter for India in this series. His match-winning inning (92 in 76 balls) in the 3rd ODI came when India struggled at 151 for five wickets. Pandya and Jadeja stitched a vital partnership of 150 runs, which ensured that India posted a fighting score of 302 runs.
Jadeja silenced his critics by scoring 66 in just 50 balls at a strike-rate of 132. It was up to the bowlers to defend the total, and the primary target for the Indian bowlers was to take wickets up-front with the new ball.
Changing the bowling line-up completely in 3rd ODI had changed the fortunes for the Indian team as they finally managed to take a wicket inside 1st power-play overs.
Young debutant T Natarajan was impressive as he took the first wicket of the match. Bringing in Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav turned out to be a great move as they could control the flow of the runs in the middle overs.
Bumrah was seen back in his rhythm in the 3rd ODI after a few ordinary matches. He took the wicket of Glen Maxwell at a crucial time which turned the result in favor of India.
Overall, Australia has been a better team in this series, credit to their batsmen. Their bowlers, too, backed them well as they didn’t allow Indian batters to run away with the chase.
The toss also mattered a lot in this series as the teams which won the toss chose to bat, scored 300 plus runs, and eventually won the match. It is never easy to chase these many runs under pressure. India missed Rohit Sharma in the run-chases, but the bowlers gave away too many runs to chase.
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