Khawaja, bowlers star as Australia beat India to stay alive

India skipper Virat Kohli’s gritty century went in vain as India suffered a 32-run defeat against Australia in the third contest of the five-match rubber at the JSCA stadium here on Friday.

Usman Khawaja’s hundred and Aaron Finch’s 93 saw Australia put up a more than decent 313 for five and India could manage only 281 in 48.2 overs, that too solely due to Kohli’s 123 off 95 balls.

It was yet another superlative effort from the Indian skipper, who lacked adequate support from the other end as Australia kept the five-match series consequential going into the fourth game in Chandigarh on Sunday. Kohli scored his first 50 off 52 balls and the next 50 off just 33 balls.

However Adam Zampa (3/70) yorked the Indian skipper after having accounted for former skipper MS Dhoni (26).

Kohli had three significant partnerships – 59 with Dhoni for the fourth wicket, 88 with Jadhav for the fifth wicket and 45 with Vijay Shankar for the sixth – but none good enough to take India across the line.

Shikhar Dhawan (1), Rohit Sharma (14) and Ambati Rayudu (2) were dismissed cheaply as India was left tottering at 27 for three and it was always a difficult task from there on.

After winning the toss, Indian pacers covered up commendably for a rare off-day endured by the spinners as visitors were restricted to 313 for five despite a 193-run opening stand between skipper Finch and Khawaja.

Khawaja (104 off 113 balls) scored his maiden ODI ton while Finch (93 off 99 balls) chose this particular match to get back to form. Maxwell (47 off 31 balls) also contributed with lusty blows.

The Indian spinners  Ravindra Jadeja (0/64) and Kedar Jadhav (0/32 in 2 overs) – were most expensive as Australian batters hit them all around the park.

Kuldeep Yadav (3/64 in 10 overs), however, redeemed himself at the back-end of the innings.

The trio gave away 160 runs in 22 overs and it was left to Jasprit Bumrah (0/53) and Mohammed Shami (1/52 ) to maintain the discipline during the final overs as the total could have gone close to the 350-run mark.

In the final 10 overs, Australia could score only 69 runs, despite being 244 for two after 40 overs, courtesy Bumrah and Shami who bowled 64 dot balls between them.

The fielding on the day was also way below par as Dhawan, at square leg, dropped Khawaja, who tried a reverse sweep, while batting on 17 off Jadeja’s bowling.

Kohli, Kedar and Bumrah were all guilty of slip-ups on the field which also released the pressure on the visitors.

Brief Scores: 

Australia – 313/5 (Usman Khawaja 104, Aaron Finch 93; Kuldeep Yadav 3/64)

India – 281 all out (Virat Kohli 123, Vijay Shankar 32; Pat Cummins 3/37)

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