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India vs Australia | Turner, Handscomb Star as Australia Chase 359 to Stun India

Chasing a formidable 359 for a win, Peter Handscomb's maiden ODI century backed up by Usman Khawaja's 91 and a superlative finishing job by Turner saw the visitors romp to victory in 47.5 overs.

Cricketnext Staff |March 10, 2019, 11:49 PM IST
India vs Australia | Turner, Handscomb Star as Australia Chase 359 to Stun India

Ashton Turner's finishing prowess for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League is well-known. On Sunday (March 10), India got a taste of his power-hitting ability and level-headedness as he tonked 84* in just 43 deliveries to help Australia nail their highest-ever chase in One-Day Internationals and level the five-match series 2-2.

Chasing a formidable 359 for a win, Peter Handscomb's maiden ODI century backed up by Usman Khawaja's 91 and a superlative finishing job by Turner saw the visitors romp to victory in 47.5 overs.

India's 358/9 was setup by Shikhar Dhawan's immaculate 143 and Rohit Sharma's 91. It looked like the hosts would successfully defend the target but Turner's whirlwind knock proved to be the difference.

The chase began on a positive note for India. Bhuvneshwar Kumar breached Aaron Finch's (0) defences for the fourth straight time in ODIs before Shaun Marsh was castled by a Jasprit Bumrah yorker for 6 as the visitors were reduced to 12/2. However, that is when Australia's fightback started.

Handscomb looked in the mood from the outset as he started off his innings with a delicate dab down to third man while Khawaja continued from where he left in Ranchi. The hallmark of their partnership was that both players not only looked for the boundaries but also rotated the strike at every given chance. Khawaja was the first one to reach his half-century off 52 balls while Handscomb also got there soon.

The 192-run association between the duo eventually ended when Khawaja was out to Bumrah trying to pull him only to be neatly snapped up by Kuldeep at fine leg. His knock included seven fours.

Glenn Maxwell walked into an ideal situation at 204/3 and meant business right away. He struck a four off his very first ball and then spanked Yuzvendra Chahal into the stands. However, he couldn't carry on for long with Kuldeep trapping him lbw for 23.

Handscomb reached his century in just 92 balls and took off from there. He found an able ally in Turner who just felt like he belonged to the big stage. Once Handscomb fell for a 105-ball 117 which included eight fours and three sixes, Turner took over.

India just did not know what hit them as the right-hander carted every bowler to all corners of the park. He had a reprieve when on 38 Rishabh Pant stuffed a regulation stumping, with Australia needing 72 off seven overs and he made the hosts pay. There was a particular scoop off Bumrah that went all the way for a six over fine leg that stood out while Bhuvneshwar too suffered in the carnage. India missed crucial chances in the field dropping two chances of Turner as the visitors took the game home with 13 balls to spare.

Turner eventually finished with 84 in 43 balls which included five fours and six massive sixes.

Electing to bat first, Dhawan was up and about from the get-go, taking a special liking to Pat Cummins. He started off with an elegant flick down to the long leg boundary and then drove the pacer through the covers for another four. The left-hander stroked two more delightful fours in Cummins' next over announcing loud and clear that he meant business on the day.

Rohit, like he so often does, took his time to settle in, accumulating runs largely in ones and twos while collecting the odd boundary. His first audacious stroke came in the game's 10th over when he lofted Jason Behrendorff for a massive six straight down the ground which also brought up India's 50.

Having been out of touch, Dhawan looked adamant to turn a corner and the Mohali surface supported his stroke play. He was well aided by Rohit. While Dhawan took the aggressive route, Rohit at the other end was circumspect. That didn't mean his strike-rate suffered though. The opener was smart in his approach and never let the pressure get to his partner.

Dhawan reached his half-century in 44 deliveries with a exquisite front-foot drive off Jhye Richardson and there was as much happiness as relief on his face once he got to the landmark. Rohit too got his 40th half-century and picked up pace soon after. He thumped Adam Zampa for a huge six over deep mid-wicket and then slammed Aaron Finch for a four to speed things up. Runs flowed for the 31-year-old and at one stage he even out-scored Dhawan in the partnership.

Just when Rohit looked set to score another century at his favourite venue he fell to a pull shot against Richardson. The short of a length delivery was in his arc but Rohit could only mistime it to deep square leg to fall for 95. His 92-ball knock included seven fours and two sixes and the 193-run partnership with Dhawan was the third-highest at the venue ever.

Dhawan though remained unfazed with the fall of his partner's wicket and completed his century with fine paddle sweep against Zampa. Arms aloft he burst into his trademark celebration and there was as much elation on his face considering this was his first century after 17 innings.

Once he reached his ton, Dhawan got even more belligerent with his stroke play smacking every bowler that came in his way. He finally was dismissed by Cummins when he missed an ungainly heave over the on-side only to see his stumps rattled. His 115-run knock was studded with 18 fours and three towering sixes.

Virat Kohli, batting at No.4 for the first time since 2015, for once failed to capitalise as he fell to Richardson once again for 7. Pant came and slammed 36 in 24 balls but India lost a cluster of wickets as the run-flow started to stem.

Cummins, who did not have the best of starts to the game eventually picked up five wickets. The end of the innings though was probably the most eventful with Bumrah tonking Cummins for an almighty six to send the whole dressing room in raptures.

The final ODI will be played at New Delhi on Wednesday (March 13).

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2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
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1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
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2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
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