By SAT sportsdesk
Melbourne: The MCG was bathing in a sea of blue on friday as India took their winning form into the 3rd and final one day international of the 2018/19 tour of Australia. At the innings break, Australia were 230 all out, with Yuzvendra Chahal starring for India to take 6 wickets for 42 runs in his 10 overs.
Top scorer for Australia was Peter Handscomb with 58 runs off 63 balls. Usman Khawaja 34 and Shawn Marsh 39 made valuable contributions but could not covert their innings into a big one. With 230 runs being a below par score, Australia were hoping for their new pace factory Richadson, Stanlake and Siddle to make early inroads into the strong India batting lineup. Like the first ODI they were hoping to take out top order Dhawan, Rohit and Kohli cheaply to put pressure on the Indian middle order. Rohit and Kohli are in fine form after making centuries in the first and second ODIs.
Siddle did take Rohit Sharma’s wicket early on and Dhawan got out to Stonis in the 16th over. Dhoni was promoted to number 4 in the absence of regular #4 Raidu and gave a chance to Stoinis on his first ball but Maxwell could not hang on. Earlier, Kohli was also dropped on 10 by Peter Handscomb at slip. There were also two close run out chances that the Aussies missed. Without scoreboard pressure, Finch had no choice but to bring in the field. The experience of Kohli and Dhoni, with more than 20000 international runs between them, was expected to take India through to an easy win. However, with Dhoni playing slow and farming the strike, Kohli’s rhythm was disrupted and he nicked one to the keeper in frustration. Out came young Jhadhav and formed an important partnership with Dhoni to get the ask to 59 runs off 53 balls. Then something in Dhoni’s brain clicked to play a maiden off Zampa’s last over and the ask suddenly became 50 off 33 balls ,much to the pleasure of the fox sports commentators who called it game on for Australia. Dhoni (87 not out) had the last laugh by increasing the scoring rate with Jadhav (61 not out) to complete another successful chase and win the series. The old master showed how its done in style – keep wickets in hand and take the chase deep into the final overs of the game. India ended their most successful tour on Australian soil winning the test series 2-1 and now the ODI series 2-1
Indian fans once again attended the MCG in big numbers giving a feeling of an India home game at the Eden Gardens. The Australia cricket fans seem to taken to the fast pace of the Big Bash and Cricket Australia will have to review the scheduling to keep the international games relevant in their minds. It would have been great to see the MCG full if the fans of both teams attended in force. Friday being a working day, the Australian Open along with the absence of run machines Stephen Smith & David Warner would have also played a part.