Riding on a 150-run partnership between Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja for the sixth wicket and a three-wicket haul from Shardul Thakur, India pulled off a 13-run consolation win in a closely fought the third and final ODI and avoided conceding a clean sweep to Australia at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. Australia took the ODI series 2-1. Glenn Maxwell’s 59 off 38 at the back-end of Australia innings threatened to take the game away from India, who had the Aussies on the mat at 158 five wickets after scoring 302 for five wickets in their 50 overs. However, with Australia needing 35 off 33 deliveries, Maxwell tried to back away to a Jasprit Bumrah yorker and was bowled and they fell short.
Yet one of the main people who was the centre of conversations across social media was former cricketer and current commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.
Majrekar had aired his views on Jadeja and Pandya, saying that players like them only add “illusory value” to the team, saying he preferred specialist batsmen and bowlers.
“My selection and thoughts are based on a principle that I have learned over the years: if you have specialists who can walk-in based on one discipline, you fill your team with those players. I do not have a problem with Jadeja; I have a problem with his kind of cricketers in white-ball cricket,” Manjrekar told The Hindu on Saturday.
“Even Hardik Pandya will not be in my team. They add illusory value to the team. Of course, I have always rated Jadeja highly in the Test format.”
The fact that both cricketers singled out for criticism by Manjrekar starred in India’s only win in the series was not lost on social media, who decided to troll Manjrekar. Check out some of the best reactions below:
Sanjay Manjrekar before the series: “I wouldn’t have Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya in my ODI team.”
3rd ODI: both put on 150 runs for 6th wicket and played excellent individual knocks.
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) December 2, 2020
Sanjay Manjrekar in commentary box watching Jaddu smashing the ball all around the Park – pic.twitter.com/zQxmml3G9V
— Vishakan Soundararajan (@Vishak_Sound) December 2, 2020
Sanjay Manjrekar: Everytime Jadeja does that sword celebration, I worry for his wrists.
— The Meme Makers (@the7mememakers) December 2, 2020
*Jadeja smashing bowlers all around the park*
— राणाजी (@RANAJI__5) December 2, 2020
— Vinayak Kori (@VinayakKori20) December 2, 2020
Sanjay Manjrekar saying that Jadeja and Pandya won’t make his team and then they have this amazing partnership is just a beautiful feeling #INDvsAUS
— AnirudhPb (@AnirudhPb) December 2, 2020
Wasn’t Sanjay Manjrekar saying after the previous game that someone like Hardik Pandya gives only illusory control in the line-up? I’m all for opinions and all, but rarely have I come across a man who spouts so much shit with such amazing confidence. #AUSvIND
— Shayne Dias (@ShayneDias_) December 2, 2020
India got off to a decent start as Shikhar Dhawan and Gill added 26 runs before the former became the first scalp of pacer Sean Abbott. Kohli, who came into bat at number three, then stitched a 56-run partnership with Gill and brought the Indian innings back on track.
However, just when India looked all set for a big total, the two Australia spinners — Adam Zampa (1/45) and Ashton Agar (2/44) — came into action and shared three wickets (Gill 33, Shreyas Iyer 19 and KL Rahul 5) among themselves to bring Australia on top with India reeling at 123/4 in the 26th over.
Pandya then joined forces with Kohli who scored his 60th ODI fifty and in the process also became the fastest batsman to score 12,000 ODI runs. However, Josh Hazlewood, who has been Kohli’s nemesis in the last three ODIs against Australia, once again got the big wicket of the India skipper who went back to the pavilion after scoring 63 runs off 78 balls.
Jadeja and Pandya then steadily helped India recover and took their time to get used to the pace of the wicket. Once they got settled, the duo went all guns blazing in the death overs and collected boundaries at will to power India to 302 in their allotted 50 overs.