Australia won the final ODI to clinch the five-match series against India 3-2. No one had given Australia a chance of winning the series in India and more so after they lost both the matches at the start of the series. Both the teams began the series with an eye on finalising their troops for the World Cup scheduled to start on the 30 of May in England and Wales. This was the last ODI series that India has played before they board the plane to Heathrow while Australia has one more series to play against Pakistan in the UAE.
On winning the ODI series in India after a decade, Australia is in a better position than India to finalise the fifteen that will go to England. With Mitchell Starc, David Warner and Steven Smith certain to come back into the team for the World Cup, the Australian selectors have a pleasant headache of deciding whom to keep out from the team that toured India. India, on the other hand, has more questions unanswered than when they started the series against Australia.
Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja gave Australia a decent start putting on 78 runs for the first wicket when Jadeja got one past Finch's defence to knock his stumps back. Khawja, in the company of Peter Handscomb, continued in the vein that he had played throughout the series. He dispatched bowlers to all parts of the ground, pulling the short balls and driving those that were on the stumps. Peter Handscomb, the centurion in the previous ODI at Mohali also played a good inning. Both of them put together a partnership of 99 runs taking the Australian score to 175.
That was when Khawaja, having scored his second century of the series, gave a simple catch to Kohli at cover off Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. Just when Australia was looking to accelerate their scoring rate, they lost six wickets for just 54 runs off 77 balls. Jasprit Bumrah tied down one end with some disciplined bowling while the other bowlers got the wickets at the other. Glen Maxwell departed soon after giving Kohli another catch off Jadeja. Peter Handscomb, the centurion in the last ODI at Mohali, completed his second consecutive fifty before he was out caught behind by Rishab Pant off a Mohammad Shami delivery.
Aston Turner, Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey failed to light up the proceedings. Aston Turner, The hero of the fourth ODI was out when he tried to hoik Kuldeep Yadav over long on only to be caught. Stoinis played a Kumar delivery on to his stumps and Alex Carey edged a Shami delivery into the gloves of Rishab Pant. Pat Cummins (15 runs off 8 balls) and Jhye Richardson (29 runs off 21 balls) then added a quick-fire 34 runs which helped Australia go past 270. Jhye Richarson was run out on the last ball of the inning and the Australian inning closed at 272 runs.
India’s reply started shakily when they lost Shikhar Dhawan caught behind for twelve. Virat Kohli also edged Stoinis to Carey and was out for 20 runs. Nathan Lyon induced Rishab Pant to edge a ball to Ashton Turner in the slips. Zampa accounted for Vijay Shanker when the batsmen tried to loft him over midwicket. Khawaja who was stationed there took an easy catch. The asking rate was meanwhile rising. Rohit Sharma came out of his crease to Adam Zampa, was beaten, and was comfortably stumped by Alex Carey. Zampa also lured Jadeja on to the front foot, beat him and had him stumped by Carey.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar joined Kedar Jadhav when India was 132 runs for the loss of six wickets. There was a semblance of hope when the duo was batting. They put together a partnership of 81 runs, the highest partnership of the Indian inning, despite the rising asking rate. But Bhuveneshwar Kumar was out on 46, the second highest score after Rohit Sharma’s 56 runs when he was caught by Finch off the bowling of Pat Cummins. Kedar Jadhav was out on the same score and the Indian inning folded shortly after when Kuldeep Yadav was bowled by Stonis. Australia had won the match by 35 runs and the series 3-2.
For Australia, Adam Zampa finished the match with three important wickets for 46 runs. pat Cummins, Zhye Richardson and Marcus Stonis all grabbed two wickets each. Nathan Lyon got one wicket for only 36 runs in the 10 overs that he bowled. Adm Zampa with the 11 wickets that he captured looks a certainty in the Australian fifteen that will fly to England this summer for the World Cup.
India paid the price of going into the match with only three specialist batsmen. They also have the problem of deciding on who the number four batsman will be and who will be an alternative all-rounder to Hardik Pandya when the finalise the fifteen that are going to play in the World Cup. Virat Kohli has already gone on record that the players’ performance in the IPL will not be considered when finalising the contingent. Australia, on the other hand, is relying on David Warner and Steven Smith proving their worth in the IPL.