Chennai: The Indian batting unit once again choked under relentless pressure from the Australian spinners as the visitors clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1 with a comfortable 21-run victory, here on Wednesday.
Chasing a stiff target of 270 on a tricky pitch, India were all out for 248 in 49.1 overs as Australia came back in the series after losing the first ODI by five wickets. The series defeat is an indicator that the Indian team is far from prepared for the World Cup and there are too many loose ends that needs to be tied.
The match turned out to be an anti-climax in the final 15 overs as Australian spinners Adam Zampa (4/45) and Ashton Agar (2/41 in 10 overs) snared as many six Indian wickets, giving away only 86 runs in the 20 overs between them.
The Chepauk track got slower and slower and post 35th over in the Indian innings, it became very difficult to hit the big strokes.
Once Zampa bowled a couple of googlies to force Hardik Pandya (40 off 40 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja (1 off 33 balls) hit against the turn, the writing was on the wall.
It was Zampa’s best figures against India and he certainly was the hero for the Aussies.
Incidentally, Australia were the last international team to beat India in a bilateral ODI series back in 2019. The score-line back then was 3-2. Since that series defeat four years back, India have won seven back-to-back bilateral ODI rubber at home.
It was three games in a row that the Indian top-order flattered to deceive and that too in home conditions. They could have been blanked 3-0 in the series had Australia scored at least 235 in the opening ODI.
The highest run-getter for India in the series was KL Rahul with 116 runs and that tells the story.
Between overs 35 to 43, India managed only 31 runs and that was where the game turned on its head.
Skipper Rohit Sharma (30 off 17 balls) started well but played one pull shot too many to be holed out at deep square leg fence while an alert Alex Carey’s decision to convince Steve Smith into taking a DRS saw the back of Shubman Gill (37 off 49 balls).
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