Indian pacers spearheaded their team to winning ways in a morale-boosting 13-run win over Australia in the third and final ODI on Wednesday, salvaging some of the lost pride in a 1-2 series defeat.
An in-form Hardik Pandya blasted 92 not out off 76 balls and Ravindra Jadeja’s useful 66 off 50 took India to 302/5 in 50 overs after which Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan, and Bumrah restricted the home team to 289 all out in 49.3 overs.
Thakur (3/51) and debutant Natarajan (2/70 in 10 overs) did their bit but it was Bumrah’s (2/43 in 9.3 overs) controlled effort with some swing upfront and the dismissal of a marauding Glenn Maxwell in the nick of time which ultimately turned the match in India’s favour.
A much more cheerful Virat Kohli, speaking at the post-match presentation, reflected on his team’s performance and said, “We were put under the pump in the first half and in the second half of Australia’s innings. Shubman and others coming in, it brings in a bit freshness.”
“I think the pitch was much better for the bowlers. So the confidence levels go up. Playing international cricket for so long, that’s the challenge you face and those are the kind of comebacks you make. We were clinical with the ball and in the field. Happy with the performance and hopefully we take the momentum forward,” the Indian captain explained.
“I would have liked to go on for a bit longer, but it was a great partnership between Pandya and Jadeja. The team needed that kind of a boost. That’s needed when you play a team like Australia,” said Kohli, who became the fastest player to score the 12,000 ODI career runs during the match.
Meanwhile, Australian skipper Aaron Finch applauded his side for fightining back well. “I thought we fought really well. It was a great partnership between Hardik and Jadeja. If we got one of those wickets, we could have chased 240 max. Cameron Green came in and made an impact with ball and bat, and showed he belongs here. Agar bowled beautifully, it was a good day in terms of the changes we made,” said Finch.
“The impact that the two spinners are having, that’s important. It’s nice when the guys in the top order contribute and then Maxi (Maxwell) can come in and do his thing with Carey and other guys,” he concluded.
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