Chennai: Australia beat India by 21 runs in the third and the final ODI of the series against Australia at the MA Chidambram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday. While the series decider was being seen as a Test of Indian batters against left-arm seam bowling, it was the Australian spinners who upped the ante in the last match of Australia’s tour with Adam Zampa being their wrecker-in-chief, picking 4 wickets for 45 runs. Ashton Agar also picked 2 wickets in an over, overall finishing with 3 for 42 as India failed to score 270 to win, in the end managing only 248 despite Virat Kohli’s half-century (54).
After choosing to bat first, Australia got off to a bit of a flier with the Kangaroos opting to go ahead with the same opening combination of Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh despite naming David Warner in the Playing XI. The decision worked well again as the two openers added 68 runs for the opening wicket followed by a passage of play which belonged to India. All-rounder Hardik Pandya struck thrice in his first three overs to not only remove the Aussie top-order but it also allowed the hosts to keep the Men in Yellow’s scoring rate at check.
Later, David Warner, who came in to bat at the number 4 position, along with Marnus Labuschagne added 40 runs and were looking set for a big one when Kuldeep Yadav got rid of both of them. However, Australia once again found a way to post a strong total this time around Marcus Stoinis (25) and Alex Carey (38) stitching a half-century partnership.
Sean Abbott’s 26 off 23 balls, Ashton Agar’s 17 from 21 and 10 each from Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa meant Australia posted 269 before being bowled out in 49 overs.
In response, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill helped India off to a flying start. Rohit was looking in sublime touch but tried one shot too many to get out for 30 off 17 balls picking the only fielder deep on the leg side for his dismissal. Gill was dismissed by Zampa for 37, thanks a superb DRS by Australia. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul then produced the best partnership for Team India in the match, adding 69 runs off 93 deliveries but against the run of play, Rahul (32) seemingly tried to get some momentum in the innings and perished.
Axar Patel got run out soon after but perhaps the moment where the balance tilted in favour of Australia was in the 36th over of the Indian innings when Agar got rid of a well-set Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav off successive deliveries. This was Suryakumar’s third back to back golden duck in the series. Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya’s India’s last recognised batting pair did add 33 off 50 balls but once Pandya and Jadeja were removed by Zampa, it was nothing but hoping for a miracle from the Indian viewpoint.
This is India’s first home series defeat since 2019 but they won’t mind if the lessons from here help them in lifting the World Cup this year.