3rd ODI: Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur shine as India avoid 3-0 sweep against Australia

India held their nerves and defended what looked like a below-par total of 303 to register their first win on the Australian tour and avoid a 3-0 sweep in the ODI series. Australia took the series 2-1 but India opened their account with a 13-run win in the 3rd ODI, which will hold them in good stead ahead of the upcoming T20I and Test series Down Under.

Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja were the architects of the inconsequential yet important win as the two batsmen were in supreme touch, stitching a record-breaking 150-run stand for the 6th wicket which helped India post 302 on the board.

Virat Kohli would have become the first India captain since Sunil Gavaskar in 1981 to lose more than 5 ODIs on the trot had India lost in Canberra but an improved all-round performance helped their skipper avoid the unwanted record.

India vs Australia, 3rd ODI: Highlights

In reply, India got the much-needed early wicket through debutant T Natarajan who removed stand-in opener Marnus Labuschagne for 7 as early as the 7th over. Australia were seemingly missing David Warner but it was the first time India struck in the powerplay.

Shardul Thakur was the star of the ball for India as the pacer finished with figures of 51 for 3 in a match-winning spell. Thakur, who replaced Navdeep Saini, picked up the big wicket of Steve Smith for 7, ending the Australia star’s hundred-hitting streak.

Ravindra Jadeja picked up the crucial wicket of Aaron Finch for 75 in the 26th over of the chase just when the Australia captain was looking set for another 3-figure score.

India survive Glenn Maxwell scare

Australia were in a spot of bother at 158 for 5 in the 31st over but Glenn Maxwell put the pressure back on India with a masterful counter-attacking display. Maxwell took the India spinners to the cleaners and went after Natarajan, bringing down the equation to 32 from 33 balls.

However, Jasprit Bumrah bowled the delivery of the match to send Maxwell back for 59 from 38 balls in the 45th over. It was a perfect yorker which Maxwell missed and left the field frustrated after having throwed a good opportunity away to seal the deal for Australia.

Ashton Agar kept going but Natarajan came back well and good great support from Shardul Thakur at the death.

Earlier in the day, India got off to a poor start as they lost opener, Shikhar Dhawan, to a soft dismissal as early as the 6th over. It was Sean Abbot who struck early on his return to the Australian ODI team. However, captain Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill 56 runs for the 2nd wicket.

Just when things were looking good for the visitors, young Gill departed for 33 while trying to sweep left-arm spinner, Ashton Agar, thereby ending a 56-run stand with his skipper.

Kohli misses ton but Hardik and Jadeja do a stunning rescue job

Even as Virat Kohli continued to keep the scoreboard moving with some exquisite strokes, he kept losing partners as Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul’s poor form continued in the ODI series. While Iyer failed to walk the talk after getting out for 19, Rahul was sent back for just 5 as Adam Zampa and Agar struck n the middle overs.

Josh Hazlewood struck a big blow when he removed India captain Virat Kohli for 63. Kohli finished without an ODI hundred in a calendar year for the first time since 2008 as India were looking in a spot of bother.

However, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja not just rescued India but gave them a par total of 302 with a record-breaking unbeaten 150-run stand for the 6th wicket. While Hardik established once again he is good enough to be picked as a No. 6 batsman, Jadeja continued his good form with the bat with a 50-ball 66 not out. Hardik played a selfless knock as he was happy giving the strike to Jadeja at the death even as he missed his maiden ODI hundred by just 8 runs.

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