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IND v AUS, 3rd ODI Review: Pandya’s fireworks helps India gain an unassailable 3-0 lead

India registered their 9th consecutive victory in ODIs, equaling the previous best record under MS Dhoni.

Team India
Team India. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Hardik Pandya once again played a gem of a knock as India defeated Australia by 5 wickets to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 5-match series. The fifties from Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma helped their side get a brilliant start and though they lost their way a bit in the middle, Pandya alongside Manish Pandey and Virat Kohli took India home.

Australia won the toss for the first time this series and had no hesitation in batting first. Aaron Finch (124 off 125 balls) made a spectacular comeback to the side and stitched a great opening partnership with David Warner (42 off 44 balls). Both these batsmen were desperate for runs and they’d be glad they got some. After adding 70 runs for the first wicket, Warner walked back thanks to a gem of a delivery from Pandya.

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Nevertheless, Steve Smith(63 off 71 balls) accompanied Finch and these both batted brilliantly for over 20 overs. Smith was at his fluent best whilst Finch took on the spinners. India was on the back foot whilst these both kept going and both the wrist spinners had no answer to the onslaught. Finch completed his half-century and upped the ante in style.

Smith kept playing the second fiddle and took a minimal amount of risk. Just after Smith had reached his half-century, Finch brought up his 8th ODI hundred and the partnership touched the 150-mark. Australia looked well on course for a total in excess of 330, but the Indian spinners had other ideas.

Kuldeep Yadav removed both these set batsmen in two consecutive overs and Chahal joined the act to dismiss Maxwell for the third time this series. Boundaries dried up completely and the scoring rate dipped drastically. India took full control of the game and wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals.

Marcus Stoinis(27*) tried hard, but Australia could manage just 293 runs, which was below par for the start they got. Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav took two wickets each, whilst Chahal and Pandya took one apiece.

Rohit, Rahane and Pandya – The showstoppers

When your openers register a 139-run stand, almost half the game is done and that’s exactly what happened in the game. After Rohit Sharma’s imperious power-hitting collaborated with Ajinkya Rahane’s class and furnace, Australia was well out of the game even though India was still over 100 runs short of the target.

Rohit(71 off 62 balls) clobbered few thunderous sixes whilst Rahane (70 off 76 balls) kept playing some majestic shots. The duo kept scoring at over 6 an over. Both of them completed their half-centuries in quick time and India was racing towards the target. Yet, there was a small twist in the tale as Rohit and Rahane fell in quick succession.

Kohli made a surprising call to send Hardik Pandya at number 4 and the youngster didn’t disappoint. He was sent on a mission to target Ashton Agar and he made a mockery of the left-arm spinner. When other bowlers were on, he played sensible cricket and this duo added 56 for the third wicket.

Australia seemed like coming back into the game with a couple of quick wickets, but Pandya never let that happen. This knock signifies how Pandya has established himself as one of the most trustworthy players in the current side. He kept towering some gigantic sixes but maintained his composure when there was nothing much on offer.

Alongside Manish Pandey, he ensured the visitors never came back into the game. Pandey was desperate for some runs today and he got 36 of them in quick time at an important juncture. In a hurry to finish the game, Pandya gave away his wicket, but the required runs were in single digits by them. Pandya registered 78 runs off 72 balls which included 5 fours and 4 sixes.

With a cheeky single down to fine-leg, India registered their 9th consecutive victory in ODIs, equaling the previous best record under MS Dhoni. India also confirmed their status as the World number one side and if they can manage another win in the next two games, they’ll have a great chance of finishing at the top spot in both ODIs and Tests in 2017.

Brief Scores

Australia: 293/6 in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 124, Steve Smith 63; Jasprit Bumrah 2/52)

India: 294/5 in 47.5 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 70, Rohit Sharma 71, Hardik Pandya 78; Pat Cummins 2/54)

Player of the match: Hardik Pandya

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