By Saloni N

Faulkner celebrates after hitting a shot

Image courtesy: IndiaToday

The 3rd ODI in the seven match series between India and Australia at Mohali’s PCA stadium (on 19 October) was lost mainly in the last three overs after an over yielded 30 runs in Australia’s favour.

After a less than dubious start India set a respectable target of 304 for Australia to chase with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni leading the charge (139 not out) and previous match hero Virat Kohli (68) making a significant contribution. But their efforts proved futile, in a nail-biting match with Australia winning due to the efforts of James Faulkner (64 not out) and Adam Voges (76 not out), with 4 wickets in hand, giving Australia a 2-1 lead in the series.

On a warm and sunny day, Australia won its third straight toss and opted to bowl first and the match began with the Indian openers Rohit Sharma (11) and Shikhar Dhawan (8) faltering early.

Virat Kohli, who stunned everyone with his 52 runs in 100 balls in the last match at Jaipur, came in to bat at number 3 and together with Suresh Raina, who brought India to a hard won 50. Unfortunately, Raina(17) soon fell short by a ball bowled by Mitchell Johnson and so did Yuvraj (0). Leaving India at this precarious position (76-4) with only 13 overs played.

Indian skipper MS Dhoni came in to bat making sure India played a safe game by scoring singles and not taking chances, while Virat Kohli made his 4th consecutive half century in 54 balls. India was 123-4 in 25 overs until Virat got out at 68 runs and Ravindra Jadeja(2) followed.

India managed to reach 200 with 10 overs to go as Ashwin and Dhoni maintained a good partnership before the former’s dismissal with the score at 230-7. Crossing the 250 mark with great difficulty (in the 46th over), Dhoni achieved a century off 107 balls while almost getting out; but saved by a dropped catch.

Despite the Indian batting fail, India set a respectable target of 304 to win, ending the innings at 303-9 and Dhoni playing a captain’s knock at 139 not-out.

The Australian chase too, got off to a great start, with Indian bowlers giving away a lot of runs and Australian openers Finch and Hughes, reaching 64 runs in 10 overs when Vinay Kumar finally had a breakthrough scalping Hughes (22) in the 12th over. Just when the match was turning disappointing for Indian fans, Finch (38) lost his wicket to Ishant Sharma. Watson (11) soon followed. George Bailey and Adam Voges started playing safe, building a solid partnership, bringing Australia to 150-3 in 32.3 overs.

Australia’s 6th wicket fell at 213 with Australia needing 91 runs to win. Faulkner then displayed his prowess by hitting off some smashing runs against Ishant Sharma (4 sixes from the over) bringing Australia closer to a win. India tried hard in the remaining overs but couldn’t stop the Australian express team of Voges and Faulkner, who hit the winning six.

Although India lost, the match was a thrilling one indeed.