Cricket: Australia Beat India in Mohali, Lead ODI Series 2-1!

MS Dhoni

Team India got thrashed by 72 runs in the first one-day international against Australia in Pune thanks to its listless batting display with nobody managing to dig in there or failing to convert good starts into big scores. Team India thrashed Australia by 9 wickets in the second ODI in Jaipur thanks to its incredible batting display involving just three of the top order overhauling a mammoth total of 359 runs and giving India their biggest ever victory against Australia. Team India failed to clinch the third ODI in Mohali today despite strange tactics adopted by Australian batsmen and a huge target set thanks to the incredible Captain Cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni making an unbeaten 139 runs off 121 balls. Common to all these three ODIs of the 7-match one-day Series between India and Australia has been India’s bowlers or rather pacers persistently failing to deliver the results desired by their captain, particularly Ishant Sharma and Vinay Kumar continuing to struggle.  India’s consistent strike pacer in recent times, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar too seems to lose the touch.

Cherishing some more green patches in the Mohali pitch promising more pace and bounce Australian captain Bailey put India in after winning the toss and his tactic almost paid rich dividends reducing India to 76 for 4 in the 13th over with heroes of the Jaipur encounter Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma failing and Yuvraj Singh out first ball. Continuing to dominate Australian bowlers made India reeling at 154 for 6 in the 32nd over and at that juncture a total of 280 or 300 became a distant dream. But Dhoni crafted a magnificent fight-back hitting just one four in his first 67 deliveries and ending up with 12 fours and 5 sixes in his unbeaten knock of 139 off 121 balls. Virat Kohli gave him good company with another useful knock of 68 after his match-winning unbeaten 100 runs off just 52 balls (his fastest) in the Jaipur encounter. With all-rounder Jadeja being the sixth out at 154 Dhoni had to carry on with his bowlers at the other end and what a breathtaking job he did to achieve the most unlikely target of 304 runs for Australia. Dhoni was dropped by the Aussie captain in the penultimate over and that ensured Australia chase in excess of 300.

Indian bowling inadequacies came to the fore again with the Aussie openers starting strongly notching up 68 runs in the 13th over. But then, Indian pacers seemed to have found some inspiration with Vinay Kumar having Hughes (22) out caught at the same score and shortly after Ishant Sharma getting the dangerous Finch (38) out leg before making it 82/2 in the 17th over. Run making suddenly became difficult and Jadeja chipped in with a tight spin spell capturing the prized scalp of Shane Watson (11). At 88/3 in the 20th over Australia was in spot of bother with the required run-rate climbing all the time. Australian batsmen did not seem to realize the urgency and did not take enough risks almost giving away the match to India at 174/5 in the 37th over.

James Faulkner
Always attacking, Haddin came in and things improved rapidly. Finally it was the explosive partnership for the sixth wicket between Voges (76 not out) and James Faulkner (64 not out off just 29 balls) that turned the tables on India as Australia sailed through by 4 wickets with three balls to spare. For his match-winning blitz James Faulkner was named the Player of the match. 

No.2 Australia lead the series 2-1 now and need to beat No.1 India 6-1 to regain the No.1  spot. Team India must concentrate of fielding good enough bowlers capable of defending at least 300+ totals. Else, the top five Indian batsmen must hit at least three centuries every time and post at least 350+ totals so that the Indian bowlers get a real chance.  


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