Asked to bat, Australia were cruising along nicely before spinners came to the party and hindered the proceedings. D'Arcy Short and Alex Carey did score fifties but couldn't save their team from getting bundled out for 225 in 47.5 overs. In reply, half-centuries from Mayank Agarwal (67-ball 69), Shubman Gill (84-ball 66) and Manish Pandey (54-ball 73) helped India B chase down the total with relative ease. The home team finished on 230 for 1 in 36.3 overs.
Having scored a calculated century in the last match to help Australia qualify for the final, Usman Khawaja failed to replicate his performance as he could only manage 23. He added 51 runs for the opening wicket with Short before falling to Jalaj Saxena. Travis Head (nought) and Marnus Labuschagne (40-ball 17) didn't contribute much but Short ensured that the scoreboard kept on ticking.
He found good support from wicketkeeper-batsman Carey as the two added 42 runs for the fourth wicket. Just when everything looked like falling in place for Australia, Deepak Hooda outfoxed Hooda for 72 to peg back the visitors.
Shreyas Gopal and Hooda made scoring difficult and were rewarded with key scalps of Ashton Agar (20), last match hero Jack Wildermuth (10) and Carey (53) in the space of 12 runs. The pacers then cleaned up the tail in no time to dismiss the visiting side for a mediocre total.
For India B, legspinner Gopal returned impressive figures of 3 for 50, while Hooda, Navdeep Saini and Siddarth Kaul chipped in with two wickets each.
The onus was now on the Indian batsmen to get the job done and they didn't disappoint. Agarwal and Ishan Kishan started on a positive note before the latter was forced to retire hurt on 13 after suffering a nasty blow on his finger by Billy Stanlake.
However, that didn't affect Agarwal who has been in brilliant form in the last 12 months. The Karnataka batsman took the attack to the Australian bowlers and scored at a strike rate of over 100. He found an able ally in Gill as the two helped India B cross the 100-run mark before the end of 19 overs. Having been smashed for three fours in his previous over by Agarwal, Agar got his revenge in the very next over. The left-arm spinner knocked over Agarwal for 67, peppered with nine fours and two maximums, but by then the damage had already been done.
Coming in at No. 4, fresh from a century in the previous outing, Pandey went after the spinners from the word go. While Pandey was blasting everyone around the park, Gill played second fiddle to his captain. The duo shared an unbeaten 120-run stand for the second wicket and ensured India B got over the line with more than 13 overs to spare.
Pandey sealed the trophy with a six over long-off. With scores of 95*, 21*, 117* and 73*, the out of favour middle-order batsman made a perfect statement ahead of the Asia Cup - slated for September. The 28-year-old ended the series with 306 runs and wasn't even dismissed once. Pandey couldn't have timed his surge better, especially with the other contenders for the middle-order spot - Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Shreyas Iyer - struggling with form.
Australia Aindia aIndia BManish Pandeymayank agarwalQuadrangular Series Finalshreyas gopalShubhman Gill
First Published: August 29, 2018, 4:41 PM IST