Chennai, March 22 (IANS) Leg-spinner Adam Zampa took four wickets while left-arm spinner Ashton Agar chipped in with two scalps to lead Australia to a 21-run victory over India in the series decider at the M A Chidambaram Stadium, here to win the series 2-1.
After posting 269 in 49 overs on a slow pitch where strokeplay wasn't easy, Zampa and Agar helped Australia fight back in the middle overs to break the back of India's batting. Even though Mitchell Starc went wicketless, the rest of bowlers along with fiery fielding show and spot-on fielding placements led to India being bundled out for 248 in 49.1 overs.
Despite India having a 65-run opening partnership, India lost four wickets for 43 runs after Virat Kohli and KL Rahul had put on 69 runs for the fourth wicket. But after Rahul and Kohli fell, the chase went downhill and India ended up on the losing side, which meant they lost an ODI series at home after four years.
With the pitch offering not much help for the fast bowlers, Shubman Gill took a liking to the pace from Mitchell Starc. A whipped six over deep mid-wicket was followed by his trademark short-arm jab and two leaning drives to pick three boundaries off the left-arm pacer.
Rohit Sharma joined the boundary-hitting party in the seventh over with an elegant loft over long-off for six against Starc, followed by a pre-mediated scoop and pull off Sean Abbott to get two boundaries. After he lofted Adam Zampa over long-on for six, Rohit couldn't keep a swipe down and was caught at deep square leg off Abbott.
Three overs later, Gill missed a drifting in delivery from Zampa and was struck on pad first, with Australia getting him out after taking the review. Kohli took time, before pulling Agar off backfoot through mid-wicket and followed it up with a beautiful inside-out loft over extra cover for six.
Rahul then hit India's first boundary after 49 balls with a smash over Zampa's head for four, bringing up fifty of his partnership with Kohli. When Starc pitched it full, Rahul was quick to slam it down the ground for six and one ball later, unfurled a loft over extra cover for four.
Just when Rahul had started to shift gears, Zampa took him out in the 28th over as the right-hander never got the elevation on a googly and toe-ended loft to long-on. In the next over, Axar Patel was run out after facing four balls, by a brilliant diving throw from Steve Smith at mid-wicket.
After Kohli reached his fifty in 61 balls, Hardik Pandya got off the mark with a pulled six off Abbott, followed by a punch through extra cover for four. Agar produced a twist in the 36th over - Kohli chipped a drive to long-off.
It was immediately followed by beating Suryakumar Yadav on the cut with a skiddy delivery to get him out for a first-ball duck for the third time in the series. Pandya and Jadeja kept India in the contest with a 33-run partnership as Australia put the pressure on the duo.
With the asking rate climbing and pressure building up, Hardik tried to slog across the line off Zampa in the 44th over. But the ball took the leading edge and Smith took the catch at cover. In the next over, Jadeja danced down the pitch to slog across the line against Zampa, but sliced to backward point.
Mohammed Shami shined with a six and four off Marcus Stoinis. But the all-rounder had the last laugh by rattling Shami's off-stump. A mix-up between Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj resulted in run-out of the former, bringing the Indian innings to an end.
Brief Scores: Australia 269 all out in 49 overs (Mitchell Marsh 47, Alex Carey 38; Hardik Pandya 3/44, Kuldeep Yadav 3/56) beat India 248 in 49.1 overs (Virat Kohli 54, Hardik Pandya 40; Adam Zampa 4/45, Ashton Agar 2/41) by 21 runs
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