A 83-ball-96 run knock from Glenn Maxwell has taken Australia to a series win against India in the 3rd ODI in Melbourne. Chasing a stiff target of 296, the home team reached the target with 7 balls to spare. Earlier, a sparkling ton from Virat Kohli and half centuries from Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan had taken India to a commanding total of 295/6, after being put into bat by Steve Smith.
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane spearhead India’s batting
After losing two matches on the trot, India were under enormous pressure on the eve of the 3rd ODI. And Rohit Sharma’s dismissal in the 5th over added to the worries. Thankfully, Shikhar Dhawan managed to hang around for a while today, and stitched together a vital 119 run stand for the 2nd wicket with Virat Kohli. Dhawan’s innings though was painfully slow, as he played out 91 balls to get to his 68 before being bowled by John Hastings in the 27th over. Ajinkya Rahane, batting at No 4, partnered Kohli with a breezy half century and kept India in the hunt for a 300 plus total. MS Dhoni’s cameo (23 off 9) upped the ante in the last few overs and made sure the target was a challenging one for the Aussies.
Glenn Maxwell becomes the unlikely star at Melbourne, India lose series
Australia began the chase well. Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh got together for a quick 48-run opening stand in 7 overs, before Umesh Yadav managed to draw first blood for the Indians with the wicket of Finch. Marsh, however, carried on from where he had left at Brisbane. Support from skipper Steve Smith (41 off 45) and George Bailey (23 off 21) helped Marsh (62 off 73) construct a solid base for the run chase.
The Indian bowlers managed to keep the contest in balance by picking up wickets at regular intervals. With the quick dismissals of Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade (both of whom had been largely untested in the series so far) within a space of 3 overs, India made a concerted push for defending the total. With the scoreboard reading 215/6 in the 39th over, the scales looked slightly tipped in favour of India. However, Glenn Maxwell had other ideas.
With James Faulkner for support, Maxwell managed to carve out a magnificent innings under pressure in the last ten overs. He curbed his aggressive instincts wherever possible and latched on to opportunities presented by the loose balls every now and then. In the face of the Maxwell-Faulkner combo, the Indian bowlers were found wanting yet again! Neither the pacers, nor Ravindra Jadeja could find any way to breach the Aussie defence in the death overs. Maxwell was left tantalizingly short of a well deserved century, when he fell to Umesh Yadav in the penultimate over, with just 1 run required for a win.
Man of the Match – Glenn Maxwell
Australia v India 3rd ODI – Scorecard