Usman Khawaja slams maiden ton (Image Credit: Twitter)
After two disappointing losses in this five-match ODI series, the men-in-yellow finally managed to win their first one-day International game at Jharkhand State Cricket Association in Ranchi. With this, the scoreline shows 1-2, still in favour of India, but Australia will be happy to see that series open.
The toss fell in favour of Australian skipper Aaron Finch for the third time in this series and he asked the opposition to have a bowl on a wicket which was good to bat on. As in the last game, Australian openers Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja started the innings in a flash. The two players smashed Indian bowlers all around the ground and took ones and twos on other occasions.
With this, Finch and Khawaja registered second-best opening partnership for Australia of 193 runs, which eventually helped them to eye for the big score. The former fell seven short of well deserved hundred, however, latter went onto to slam his first ODI ton. Once Finch perished, the Australian team management sent Glenn Maxwell ahead of Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh to up the scoring rate and let the score look ‘scary’.
Further, Glenn Maxwell’s cameo of 47 along with a contribution from Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey lower down the order led Australia to finish at 315 for 5 in their quota of 50 overs. For India, Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the bowlers, picking 3 wickets for 64 runs.
In reply, India lost their openers early in the innings, which led undue pressure on the middle-order. Ambati Rayudu is also struggling to convert the starts into big score which eventually saw India score 27 runs for the loss of 3 wickets.
Ranchi’s local boy MS Dhoni along with the start sensation Virat Kohli tried to repair things for India and smashed a fifty plus run partnership. However, just when India was looking good, Dhoni was sent back by Adam Zampa for 26 runs.
Australian bowlers continued to dent India’s batting order further. Though there were a few partnerships here and there, that was never enough to get India cross the winning line. Virat Kohli was an only good thing for the team as he once again registered a three-digit score. He smashed 123 runs off 95 deliveries. The innings was laced with 16 boundaries and a mighty six. In this superlative innings, he took his century tally to 41, which is nothing short of incredible.
In the end, India fell 32 runs short of the total. The next game is scheduled to be played at Mohali on March 10. This remains to be seen if Australia can square the series and make the last game at Delhi a treat for every cricket fan.
AUS: 313/5 in 50 overs (U Khawaja 104; K Yadav 3/64)
IND: 281/10 in 48.2 overs (V Kohli 123; P Cummins 3/37)