Australia register consolation win over India ahead of World Cup

By BD Naraayannkar

Rajkot, (UNI) Australia registered a consolation win by beating India by 66 runs in the third and final ODI match at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Wednesday.

India won the three-match ODI series 2-1.

Australia will be happy to have won this match as it was the last international ODI match before the World Cup.

Batting first, Australia posted a massive 352/7, and in reply India could get only 286 all out.

Captain Rohit Sharma and makeshift opener Washington Sundar began the run chase in great style. They knit a 74 runs partnership for the first wicket in 65 balls.

After Sundar departed scoring 18, Rohit and Virat Kohli stitched 70 runs partnership for the second wicket, taking the total to 144/2 in 21 overs.

Rohit looked ominous, but Glenn Maxwell, who failed with his bat, surprised cricket pundits with his offbreaks. He claimed the prize wickets of Sundar, Rohit, Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav (8) and derailed the Indian chase.

Rohit topscored for India with 81 off 57 balls with 5 boundaries and 6 sixes, while Kohli was second topscorer by scoring 56 off 61 balls with 5 boundaries and a six.

Shreyas Iyer looked dangerous along with KL Rahul who belted some lusty blows, but lost their wickets after scoring 48 in 43 balls and 26 in 30 balls, respectively.

Ravindra Jadeja was left alone to get to the target, which was a very difficult proposition with the tail-enders like Kuldeep Yadav (2), Jasprit Bumrah (5) and Mohammed Siraj (1).

Trying to up the ante, Jadeja fell to debutant Tanveer Sangha leg before making 35 off 36 balls with 3 boundaries and a six.

The Australian fielding and catching was outstanding with Marnus Labuschagne standing out in the deep.

They did not allow anyone to go big and made the difference with lots of slower balls as the pitch slowed down a lot during the middle overs.

The other wicket-takers for Australia were Josh Hazlewood (2), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green and Sangha (all picked a wicket each).

Earlier, the 137 runs partnership between Mitchell Marsh and Steven Smith helped Australia post a big total.

Marsh failed to complete his century as he fell short by four runs to Kuldeep in the 28th over. He smashed 96 runs off 84 balls with 13 boundaries and 3 sixes.

Smith managed to score 74 off 61 balls with 8 boundaries and a six, but soon followed Marsh back to the pavilion as Mohammed Siraj trapped him leg before.

Thereafter the ball went soft and the Australian scoring rate slowed down, but Marnus Labuschagne carried on, and belted 72 off 58 balls with 9 boundaries, despite wickets falling at the other end.

India fought back and prevented Australia from racing to 400 runs mark. Jasprit Bumrah roared back with wickets of Alex Carey (11) and Glenn Maxwell (5) in back-to-back overs to leave Australia 281/5 in 39th over.

Kuldeep then grabbed his second in the form of Cameron Green (9) as Australia endured a mini-collapse in the final 10 overs of the innings.

Cummins remained unbeaten with 19 off 22 balls after he opted to bat first.

Opener David Warner gave Australia a rollicking start, blasting 56 off 34 balls with 6 boundaries and 2 sixes. However, Prasidh Krishna got the better off him even though he was clobbered for 19 runs in his first over.

Brief scores: Australia 352/7 (Mitchell Marsh 96, Steve Smith 74, Marnus Labuschagne 72; Jasprit Bumrah 3-81) beat India 286 in 49.4 overs (Rohit Sharma 81, Virat Kohli 56; Glenn Maxwell 4-40) by 66 runs.

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