Despite the fact that the 5-match ODI series was already decided at 3-1 in the favor of hots before the arrival of India and Australia in Nagpur as there was a lot of things were at stake for both the teams.
For Australia, they had to win the final ODI to save their pride and completing the series 3-2, while India had to win the series by 4-1 in order to attain the No. 1 ranking in ICC ODI team rankings and finally, the things ended in India’s favor that too pretty comprehensively.
Australian skipper Steve Smith won the toss and decided to bat first on a wicket which was looking great for batting. The openers David Warner and Aaron Finch gave a steady start as they didn’t lose a wicket in first 10 overs and went on to score 60 odd runs. Hardik Pandya gave India the first breakthrough in the 12th over by dismissing Finch, who was caught at mid-off.
Indian captain Virat Kohli was quick to change his plans with the track offering something for the spinners and came up with the idea of bowling with spinners from both the ends. Even the trio of Kuldeep Yadav, Akshar Patel, and Kedar Jadhav didn’t disappoint the skipper and bowled some spells which created a lot of difficulties for the Aussies as they were down to 118-43 in 25 overs.
At 205/4 in the 43rd over, Australia was looking to go beyond 250 easily but then came the duo of death specialist of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah and smashed all the plans of the visitors. They made sure that the Aussies didn’t go beyond the 250 mark and restricted them to a scoreline of 242/9. Akshar took 3 wickets while Jasprit picked up two wickets. A target of 243 isn’t a lot in this day and age but on this pitch it could prove to be tricky under the lights.
A target of 243 was clearly way below par to defend for the Australian bowling attack but in Nagpur track, under the lights, things could’ve been tricky for the men in blue. Indian openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma made a record by making another 100-run opening partnership. They become only the second the Indian opening pair to score 3 back-to-back 10-run opening partnerships. Both the openers brought up their individual half-centuries, but soon after that Rahane, who scored 4 consecutive fifties in the series, fell for 61 off Nathan Coulter-Nile while trying to glance a ball towards square leg.
Captain Kohli joined Rohit at the crease and the duo anchored their innings pretty comfortably in the middle. Soon, Sharma brought up his 6000 ODI runs and became the fastest Indian to score 2000 runs at him followed by his 14th ODI.
Rohit went all guns blazing after the century as he smashed the 5 sixes in his innings of 125 off 109 balls, which came to an end when he tried to hit Adam Zampa for his 6th sixer of the innings. With only 20 more runs to win, Kedar Jadhav came in the middle to join the skipper, but Kohli too fell in the same over while trying to clear the long off fielder at an individual score of 39. Manish Pandey and Jadhav finished off the formalities to seal a 7-wicket victory.
Last time in 2016, when both the teams locked horns for an ODI series in Australia, which also ended at 4-1 scoreline in Australia’s favor, Pandey was the man who finished off the series with the boundary and this time also he did it for Team India.
India won the series 4-1 and gained the numero uno position in ODI rankings by displacing South Africa. The 3-match T20I series begins from 7th October in Ranchi.
Australia 242/9: David Warner 53, MarcusStoinis 46, Akshar 3/38 Bumrah 2/51 defeated by India 243/3: Rohit Sharma 125, Ajinkya Rahane 61, Adam Zampa 2/56.