Australia’s shot at a rare series clean sweep of India were killed off in the final overs as they fell short by 13 runs in the third ODI in Canberra. Glenn Maxwell put the hosts in a position to win the game with a dominant 59 from 38 balls, but his dismissal in the 45th over saw Australia lose 4-21 to be all out for 289.
Their effort was in deep contrast to that of India, who smashed 84 runs from the same five-and-a-half over period in their innings. With it went Australia’s chances of their first series whitewash over India since 1999-2000, as the tourists take some confidence into the Twenty20 series starting on Friday.
After Aaron Finch helped kickstart Australia’s pursuit of India’s 302-5 with 75 of his own, Maxwell looked to have it in the bag for Australia. The Victorian’s knock included four big sixes, after he had already struck 108 runs from just 48 balls in the first two games of the series.
He launched two of those off Ravindra Jadeja in as many balls, including one he pulled 108 metres to land on the roof of the Bob Hawke Stand. On another occasion he punished Kuldeep Yadav with a ridiculous 100-metre reverse sweep into the crowd.
But when he was the seventh man out, bowled by Jasprit Bumrah (2-43), the game turned drastically with the hosts still needing 35 from 33. Australia managed no more boundaries from that point as Ashton Agar, Sean Abbott and Adam Zampa all fell.
Bumrah meanwhile finally had the Kookaburra singing again for India, in a dangerous opening spell that was unlucky to go without a wicket. He had Finch dropped at first slip on 22 and grassed a tough chance from him off his own bowling on 27, while Marnus Labuschagne fell for seven at the other end.
Steve Smith had his first failure of the summer, caught down legside for seven by Shardul Thakur (3-51) while debutant Cameron Green showed plenty of promise with his 21.
The wicket of Alex Carey also proved crucial, run out for 38 which ended a 52-run stand with Maxwell as they looked to steady the ship. But ultimately Hardik Pandya and Jadeja’s big hitting at the end of India’s innings proved crucial.
After the tourists looked set for a mediocre total, Pandya finished with an unbeaten 92 from 76 deliveries while Jadeja hit three sixes in his 66 from 50 balls. Abbott (1-84) copped most of the punishment and went for 32 runs in one eight-ball stretch as Australia missed Pat Cummins (rested) and Mitchell Starc (side).
Josh Hazlewood (1-66) had earlier got master batsman Virat Kohli’s wicket for a fifth time in as many battles with him, with the Indian megastar falling caught behind for 63. Highly-touted 21-year-old Green bowled well but had a tough initiation to international cricket with figures of 0-27 from four overs.