Australia took a series-winning lead, 3-0, against India in last night’s one-day international at the MCG.
For the third time in succession Australia chased a healthy Indian total, reaching another record target with little fuss.
India’s batting throughout the series so far has been superb, with most of the top order getting among the runs while posting totals of 309, 308 and 295. Each time, however, the team has failed to build the total aggressively from a comfortable base, and each time the Indian bowlers have failed to make vital breakthroughs to destroy the Australians’ momentum.
Virat Kohli followed up on his 59 at the Gabba with 117 runs on a flat Melbourne pitch, racking up his 24th ODI century. Shihkar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane helped pile on the runs, with captain MS Dhoni finally bringing a sense of urgency to the proceedings, but too late to ensure the target would test Australia. Dhawan posted 68 runs off 91 balls last night at the MCG.
Marsh, Finch, Smith and Bailey each scored fluently, but it was Glenn Maxwell who took Australia to the brink of victory, scoring 96 off 83 balls to earn the man of the match award. With just one needed for victory, Maxwell tried to reach his century by slogging Yadav to the boundary , but fell to a Dhawan catch, leaving Faulkner to score the winning run.
Two matches remain, at Manuka Oval, Canberra, on January 20 and the SCG on January 23.
Despite frequent rotation and testing of new faces, Australia’s bowling attack has proved superior. John Hastings was excellent as he posted his career-best ODI figures of 4/58 last night, and Joel Paris and Scott Boland have both tasted some success against some of the world’s best batsmen. Spinner Nathan Lyon is expected to return to the team for the last two matches in the series as India struggles to find a combination to restore its wounded pride. – Jesse Mullens
Top photo of Glenn Maxwell raising his bat from Australian Cricket Team’s Facebook page.