India stunned by Roaring Australia in the Series Decider

The decider at Kotla was a disappointment for India. Australia continued their momentum from the back to back wins to clinch the final, thus winning both the T20 and ODI series. With star players like David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood about to return from their bans and injuries, the defending champions Australia have announced themselves as a strong contender for the World Cup. Whereas India were far from their best this series and kept losing the plot in key moments against a hungry Australia.

India stunned by roaring Australia in the Series Decider India stunned by roaring Australia in the Series Decider Source : Twitter

Usman Khawaja, Adam Zampa and Pat Cummins continued their good form and produced their best in the final ODI against India. Leading up to the decider at Kotla in Delhi, the series was tied 2-2. Both teams had won consecutive games but the momentum was with Australia. Aaron Finch won the toss and chose to bat first on a low, slow pitch. Australia replaced Shaun Marsh with Marcus Stoinis and India replaced KL Rahul with Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami was brought back in for Yuzavendra Chahal.

Australia got off to a good start, reaching 76 in the 15th over. Then, Jadeja got one to grip the surface and turn sharply to beat Finch's forward defense and knocked the off-stump back. In-form batsman Peter Handscomb came in at 3 and had a 99-run partnership with Khawaja who got out to Kumar after scoring his second ODI century. Khawaja was again in fine form, playing shots all around the ground using his gift of timing to good effect on a pitch where everyone found timing their shots difficult.

Kumar and Shami made back to back inroads at the end of the second powerplay and in the death overs to reduce Australia to 229/7 in 46 overs. In the last four overs, Australia pulled some momentum back when Jhye Richards scored 29 off 21 and Pat Cummins contributed with 15 off 8 to push Australia's total to a respectable 272/9 from a point where Australia would have been happy with 250 on the board.

The rescue act by Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins hurt India at the end as the match by decided by 35 runs. Glenn Maxwell was dismissed on 1 by Jadeja, and finishers Stoinis and Turner got starts but could not go on. When Alex Carey was dismissed by Shami on 3, it was India that had snatched all the momentum from Australia taking 6 wickets in 13 overs that conceded only 54 runs. Letting Australian tail-enders off the hook by bowling length balls at them instead of trying to dismiss them cost India dearly. They edged, nudged, guided and smacked their way to score 43 in the last 25 deliveries which was a competitive total on Kotla's sluggish surface.

When India came on to bat under lights, Australian strike bowlers Cummins and Richardson started off with the same accuracy and discipline that they have showcased throughout the series. Rohit Sharma was tied down and Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed by an excellent delivery from Cummins that moved away from Dhawan on top of extra bounce. Virat Kohli looked in good touch for his 20, but he got out to Stoinis off a nothing delivery due to false execution of his cut shot.

Nathan Lyon bowled with the same control and rhythm that has made him one of the spinners in the world in red ball cricket. He bowled a beautiful flighted delivery that dipped on Pant and spun away to take the outside edge of his poking bat and was pouched in the slip by Ashton Turner.

Rohit Sharma, having made his fifty, was looking set to take the innings deep and give India a chance. He was dropped twice before he was finally dismissed by Adam Zampa who shortened his length as he saw Sharma step out of his crease. Sharma lost his bat in the ugly hoick and wicketkeeper Alex Carey collected the ball cleanly even though he was blinded by Sharma, and got rid of the bails to stump him. Three balls later, Zampa's googly drew Jadeja out of his crease as he overbalanced and Carey finished another clean stumping earning Zampa two wickets in a maiden over, a deserving reward for his beautiful and brave leg spin bowling. He finished with figures of 3 for 46.

India were 132 for 6 after 29 overs. Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar shared a partnership of 91 in 103 balls to salvage some pride. But in the end, their valiant effort proved too little and too late. Cummins and Richardson came back again to bowl at the death and dismissed both the set batsmen to finish the last rites.

Both Player of the Match and Player of the Series was awarded to Usman Khawaja who finished the series with most runs, amassing 383 runs that include 2 hundreds and 2 fifties in 5 matches. Pat Cummins took 14 wickets in 5 matches finishing as the highest wicket-taker in the series.

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