3rd ODI: Hardik, Kuldeep take three wickets each as lower order batters carry Australia to 269

Fast-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya and left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav pick three wickets each as India bowled out Australia for 269 in 49 overs in the ODI series decider at M A Chidambaram Stadium, here on Wednesday.

Electing to bat first, Australia seemed to have read the conditions well by maximising the powerplay. But despite getting into double figures barring Steve Smith falling for a two-ball duck, none of the batters could make a big score.

A majority of their batters lost their wickets on a slow pitch where shot-making wasn’t easy, especially of aerial shots. Hardik kept banging his deliveries to pick 3/44 while Kuldeep got sharp turn to take 3/56. The duo were supported by Mohammed Siraj and Axar Patel taking two wickets each, while Ravindra Jadeja bowled tight lines while conceding only 34 runs in his ten uninterrupted overs.

After Travis Head drove Mohammed Shami down the ground for four in the opening over, Marsh began to dominate the Indian bowlers. He was quick to pick lengths from Mohammed Siraj and flicked him through mid-wicket with perfection for two boundaries.

After whipping Shami over the same region for six, Marsh again drove off Siraj twice on both sides of the ‘v’ for boundaries. Shami came under attack again when Head whipped for six, while Marsh clipped for four through the leg-side.

When Axar Patel overpitched on the first ball of eighth over, Head lofted down the ground for six, followed by Marsh bringing up Australia’s fifty with a four thumped through extra cover. Head looked in great touch, pulling and upper-cutting off Siraj for two fours.

But on the fifth ball of 11th over, Head was caught at deep third man off Hardik after Shubman Gill dropped him at deep square leg just two balls before. In his next over, he extracted a drive from Steve Smith and the outside edge went behind to KL Rahul.

Hardik had his third wicket in three overs when Marsh looked to drive a length ball outside off-stump, but inside edged to the stumps. David Warner, batting at number four for the first time in ODIs, tried to loft Kuldeep over deep mid-wicket, but the ball turned and took the leading edge to long-off in the 25th over.

Four overs later, Labuschagne too fell to Kuldeep when he never got close to pitch of the ball and holed out to long-off. Carey and Stoinis were proactive in their sixth-wicket stand, where the duo relied a lot on strike rotation and used a lot of reverse sweeps as well as slamming boundaries over long-on.

Axar broke the partnership in the 37th over when Stoinis went for a loft, but the bat turned on impact and took the inner edge to long-on. Two overs later, Carey looked to defend against a leg-break from Kuldeep which was pitched around leg-stump. But the ball spun away sharply to hit the top of off-stump, leaving everyone bewildered.

With Australia’s batting going deep, Abbott pulled Hardik for four, before unfurling a superb reverse sweep off Kuldeep to pick another boundary. After slamming Axar over long-on for a big six, Ashton Agar joined the party by smacking another maximum over the same region.

But Patel ended the joyride on last ball of the 45th over by castling Abbott, who was shaping up for a swipe across the line. Agar departed in the next over by pulling a Siraj bouncer straight to deep mid-wicket. Adam Zampa and Mitchell Starc hit a boundary each, before Siraj had the latter caught at deep square-leg to end Australia’s innings in 49 overs.

Brief Scores: Australia 269 all out in 49 overs (Mitchell Marsh 47, Alex Carey 38; Hardik Pandya 3/44, Kuldeep Yadav 3/56) against India

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