Canberra, Dec 2: India, riding on a 150-run partnership between Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja for the sixth wicket and a three-wicket haul from Shardul Thakur, pulled off a 13-run consolation win in a closely fought the third and final One-day International and avoided conceding a clean sweep to Australia here at the Manuka Oval.
Australia took the ODI series 2-1.
Glenn Maxwell’s 59 off 38 at the back-end of Australia innings threatened to take the game away from India, who had the Aussies on the mat at 158 five wickets after scoring 302 for five wickets in their 50 overs.
However, with Australia needing 35 off 33 deliveries, Maxwell tried to back away to a Jasprit Bumrah yorker and was bowled. The Aussie tail, which can bat, however found it tough and fell short.
Earlier, half-centuries from Pandya, Jadeja as well as skipper Virat Kohli helped India set up a competitive 303-run target.
Winning the toss for the first time in the series, India, who had already lost the series, Kohli opted to bat as the visitors made four changes in their line-up — Shubman Gill, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, and debutant T Natarajan replacing Mayank Agarwal, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Mohammed Shami.
India got off to a decent start as Shikhar Dhawan and Gill added 26 runs before the former became the first scalp of pacer Sean Abbott. Kohli, who came into bat at number three, then stitched a 56-run partnership with Gill and brought the Indian innings back on track.
However, just when India looked all set for a big total, the two Australia spinners — Adam Zampa (1/45) and Ashton Agar (2/44) — came into action and shared three wickets (Gill 33, Shreyas Iyer 19 and KL Rahul 5) among themselves to bring Australia on top with India reeling at 123/4 in the 26th over.
Pandya then joined forces with Kohli who scored his 60th ODI fifty and in the process also became the fastest batsman to score 12,000 ODI runs. However, Josh Hazlewood, who has been Kohli’s nemesis in the last three ODIs against Australia, once again got the big wicket of the India skipper who went back to the pavilion after scoring 63 runs off 78 balls.
Jadeja and Pandya then steadily helped India recover and took their time to get used to the pace of the wicket. Once they got settled, the duo went all guns blazing in the death overs and collected boundaries at will to power India to 302 in their allotted 50 overs.
The duo shared an unbeaten 150 run partnership off just 108 balls as Pandya and Jadeja remained not out at 92 (76 balls; seven 4s, one 6) and 66 (50 balls; five 4s and three 6s respectively.
Later, the Indian bowlers kept getting wickets at regular intervals with Australia opening the batting with Marnus Labuschagne in place of David Warner, who could not play this game due to injury.
Unlike the last two games, the Aussies could not have a good opening partnership with Labuschagne getting dismissed for seven.
Steve Smith, who made centuries in the first two matches of the series, failed to make an impact scoring just seven.
Maxwell came into bat with Australia at 158 for five in just over 30 overs, needing another 145 to overhaul India’s total.
The right-handed batsman, who was dismissed just when the Aussies were closing in on a win, hit two sixes off Jadeja’s one over and then launched into debutant T Natarajan and took 18 runs off his eighth over along with Ashton Agar to tilt the balance Australia’s way in a humdinger. But after his dismissal, it all fell apart for the hosts.
Brief scores: India 302/5 (Hardik Pandya 92 not out, Ravindra Jadeja 66 not out; Ashton Agar 2/44) beat Australia 289 all out in 49.3 overs (A Finch 75, G Maxwell 59, S Thakur 3/51, J Bumrah 2/43, T Natarajan 2/70) by 13 runs