Hardik, Jadeja help avoid whitewash, India win 3rd ODI by 13 runs

Pandya (92 not out) and Jadeja (unbeaten 66) stitched 150 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket to help India post a fighting total

Indian players celebrate an Australian wicket during the third ODI in Canberra on Wednesday (December 2). Photo: Twitter/BCCI

India avoided a clean sweep by Australia with a 13-run victory in the third and final One Day International at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on Wednesday (December 2). The hosts took the series 2-1.

Now, the action shifts to three T20Is with the opener to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Friday (December 4).

An in-form Hardik Pandya blasted 92 not out off 76 balls and Ravindra Jadeja’s useful 66 off 50 took India to a healthy 302/5 in 50 overs after an inept show in the first 30 overs.

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It was at least 30 runs short of a par-score on a good batting track but a rejigged bowling attack managed to restrict the home team to 289 all out in 49.3 overs.

Shardul Thakur (3/51) and debutant Thangarasu Natarajan (2/70 in 10 overs) did their bit but it was Jasprit Bumrah’s (2/43 in 9.3 overs) controlled effort with some swing upfront and the dismissal of a marauding Glenn Maxwell in the nick of time which ultimately turned the match in India’s favour.

Bumrah did the most important thing by bowling one in the block-hole that had the dangerous Maxwell (59 off 38 balls) while trying to free his arms exposing the stumps.

Smith goes early

The “Big Show” was in a mood to punish the bowlers and all he needed was to see off Bumrah and attack the others as he was doing.

The cushion provided by his “senior” helped Natarajan to start bowling his yorkers under pressure and Thakur also chipped in with necessary wickets.

India’s bowling attack had a different look and it did perform way better compared to the first two games.

Natarajan was very steady in his first spell and got his maiden wicket when Marnus Labuschagne (7), in an unfamiliar role as opener, dragged a wide delivery back onto the stumps.

Thakur, replacing a rested Mohammed Shami, was also lucky when Steve Smith (7) tried to tickle one down on the ”fifth leg stump” to be caught by KL Rahul behind the stumps.

Moises Henriques (22) and skipper Aaron Finch (75) looked good during their 51-run stand for the third wicket before the former failed to keep a pull-shot down off Thakur’s bowling.

Alex Carey run out

However, what was more heartening was Kuldeep Yadav’s (1/57 in 10 overs) restrained bowling in the middle overs with the last over punishment by Maxwell being more of an aberration.

The flight was back and so was the dip in the air that used to create confusion in the minds of batsmen.

Debutant Cameron Green (21) played an uppish slog sweep off Kuldeep which was snapped inches off the ground by Jadeja.

Jadeja (1/62 in 10 overs), who had a field day, topped up a solid batting show with the prized wicket of the rival captain Finch as Shikhar Dhawan managed to make an easy catch look difficult at long-on.

Maxwell and the calm Alex Carey (38 off 42 balls) looked like doing an encore of their victorious effort against England at Old Trafford last September.

But just when they settled down, Carey went for non-existent single only to be sent back by Maxwell as Australia were reduced to 210 for 6.

Pandya-Jadeja partnership

Earlier, an in-form Pandya and the effective Jadeja helped India make an impressive recovery after the team struggled during the first 30 overs with only skipper Virat Kohli’s fighting half century being the bright spot.

Coming together in the 32nd over, Pandya and Jadeja stitched 150 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket to change the complexion of the game, which would make no difference to the final score-line as Australia have already sealed it with back-to-back wins in Sydney.

It looked like India would barely reach 250 but Pandya and Jadeja made it a different story.

The duo took some time to settle down before opening the floodgates of boundaries. They scored 53 runs from the 46th to 48th over. In all, 76 runs came from the last five overs.

Pandya’s innings had seven fours and one six while Jadeja was at his best, hitting five boundaries and three sixes.

(With inputs from PTI)

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