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India vs Australia | Kohli Ton in Vain as Australia Spoil Dhoni's Homecoming

Cricketnext Staff |March 9, 2019, 7:19 AM IST
India vs Australia | Kohli Ton in Vain as Australia Spoil Dhoni's Homecoming

Usman Khawaja had to join forces with Aaron Finch to overpower a yet another masterclass from Virat Kohli as Australia defeated India by 32 runs in the third One-Day International at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi on Friday (March 8). With two more ODIs to go, India still lead the series 2-1.

Finch (99-ball 93) and Khawaja (113-ball 104) added 193 runs for the opening wicket as Australia posted 313 for 5 in their 50 overs. In reply, Kohli (95-ball 123) scored his 41st ODI century but found no support from other batsmen as India were bundled out for 281 in 48.2 overs.

Earlier, the two Australian batsmen were helped immensely by some mediocre fielding that included a simple dropped chance by Shikhar Dhawan at point. Having not scored a single 50-plus score in his last 21 white-ball innings, Finch didn't look at his best and survived quite a few lbw calls. However, this was exactly the type of innings he needed to get himself back into scoring ways. Meanwhile, Khawaja looked fluent in his approach and crafted his knock very smartly.

Indian pacers Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah once again kept targeting Finch's pads but the right-handed opener somehow managed to see through the opening spell before opening his shoulders against spinners. Both Finch and Khawaja cashed in on almost every bad delivery and made the most of fielding restrictions and good batting conditions.

Having been hit on his shin, Shami had to leave the field for some duration and that put some extra pressure on Kohli who had to introduce spinners just after the end of six overs. Finch also launched a brutal assault on Kedar Jadhav, smashing him for three maximums in the space of two overs to accumulate 32 runs in no time. In the process, he also brought up his 19th half-century in this format.

Unlike Finch, Khawaja didn't go for any fancy shots but was equally effective and operated almost at the same strike rate. There were a couple of reverse sweeps off Ravindra Jadeja's bowling, but it was through the leg side where Khawaja did most of his scoring.

Finch was on his way to complete his 12th ODI hundred, but reacted late to one of Kuldeep Yadav (3 for 64) deliveries and finally was trapped right in front of the stumps. The 32-year-old smacked 10 fours and three sixes before perishing. Khawaja, however, was unfazed by Finch's departure and completed his maiden century without any fuss.

Australia promoted Glenn Maxwell to No. 3 and the big-hitting all-rounder got into the act straightaway by hitting Kuldeep and Jadeja for a couple of fours and sixes.

Just when everything was going well for the visiting side, Shami returned to get rid of Khawaja, having him caught at the cover region. Maxwell then was outdone by the brilliance of Jadeja and local boy MS Dhoni who deflected former's bullet of a throw from short cover into the stumps, sending the dangerman back for 31-ball 47. Kuldeep then accounted for Shaun Marsh (7) and Peter Handscomb (0) to reduce Australia from 239 for 1 to 263 for 5.

Marcus Stoinis (31*) and Alex Carey (21*) batted at a decent click and added an unbeaten 50 runs for the sixth wicket to ensure Australia get past that 300-run mark comfortably.

India needed a solid start from their openers who haven't been amongst the runs lately. Rohit commenced well by crafting Pat Cummins for a four and six, before Jhye Richardson, who's playing his first match of the series, dismissed Dhawan for 1. The left-hander had enough room to work with but ended up smashing it straight to Maxwell at point.

Cummins then got his revenge in the next over by pinning Rohit right in front of the stumps for 14. Before the dust had settled, Cummins knocked over Ambati Rayudu (2) with a gem of an outswinger to reduce India to 27 for 3.

The entire burden fell on the shoulders of Kohli and MS Dhoni and the two added 59 runs to bring some stability to the innings. The moment Kohli came out to bat it looked like he was batting in a different zone. The 30-year-old started his innings with a couple of delightful shots through the off side, before slamming Richardson for two fours in the same over.

The two kept the scoreboard moving with ones and twos, but just after smashing Nathan Lyon for a six over deep mid-wicket, the wicketkeeper-batsman was bowled by Adam Zampa for 26. The ball was slightly fuller and Dhoni ended up dragging it back to the stumps.

Kohli, however, kept going and found an able ally in Jadhav. The batting maestro went after Stoinis in particular, hitting him smartly all around the park. The way he belted Richardson for a boundary through covers was a perfect reflection of the kind of mood he was in tonight. Meanwhile, Jadhav played his role to perfection in the 88-run stand before he was out lbw for 26 while playing a sweep off Zampa's bowling.

It felt like Maxwell was causing some trouble with his off-spin and could have got Kohli out on 98 if Carey wouldn't have dropped a simple chance behind the stumps. The Indian skipper then got to his hundred in the very same over to add insult to injury. He began to open his shoulders and tonked Zampa for a six and two fours before getting knocked over by a straighter one. Kohli went for a flick but couldn't get any bat to it and had to perish after smashing 16 fours and a six.

Vijay Shankar looked good during his 30-ball 32 but was caught at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Lyon. Jadeja (24) and Shami (8) played a couple of entertaining shots but that was never going to be enough to bring India back in the game.

For Australia, Zampa, Cummins and Richardson took three wickets each, while Lyon scalped one.

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