Vastavam web: All-rounder Hardik Pandya rose to the occasion yet again with a fluent 78-run knock as India registered a comfortable five-wicket win over Australia in the third ODI to grab the number one spot, here today.Chasing 294 for a win, India overhauled the target with 13 balls to spare in front of a packed Holkar stadium to take a series-clinching 3-0 lead.Openers Rohit Sharma (71) and Ajikya Rahane (70) set the platform for the win with their 131-run partnership while Pandya steered the side to victory with his crucial knock, which came off 72 balls.
Australia opener Aaron Finch, playing his first game of the series, had placed Australia at a commanding 232 for two in 40 overs with his 124-run innings but they lost plot after that.When they could have gone for a kill and a score in the vicinity of 350, all Australia could manage was just 59 runs and lost four wickets to settle for 293 for six.He kept Australia under pressure with his confident batting as he not only rotated the strike comfortably but also smacked four sixes off Ashton Agar to keep the run-rate under control.
Pandya found a good partner in Manish Pandey (36) as they went about their business calmly and shared a 78-run stand for the fifth wicket.The win meant that India have maintained their unbeaten run in Indore and have now recorded sixth consecutive ODI series win since June 2016.India, already number one in the Test format, replaced South Africa at the top of ODI ranking table by taking their tally to 120 points, one more than the Proteas.Rahane kept rotating strike and also hit Marcus Stoinis for three boundaries in a single over.
Rohit was dropped on 67 by stumper Peter Handscomb off Cummins but could not make full use of the chance and soon miscued one from Coulter-Nile to be caught by Hilton Cartwright at deep mid-wicket.Cummins ended Rahane’s innings by trapping him LBW to bring two new batsmen skipper Kohli and Pandya on the crease.Earlier, exploiting a flat Holkar track, Finch added 70 runs for the opening wicket with David Warner (42) and raised a 154-run partnership with captain Steve Smith (63) for the second wicket.
Indian bowlers, who were largely ineffective till the dismissal of Finch, began to dictate terms towards the end.Smith and Glenn Maxwell (5) frittered away a brilliant opportunity to keep the series alive.Finch, who replaced young Hilton Cartright after recovering from a calf injury, decorated his eighth ODI century with 12 fours and five sixes.
His footwork was impeccable and he rendered the stock balls of both the spinners ineffective, hitting four of his five sixes on ‘googlies’.A docile pitch to deal with, Indian bowlers hardly troubled the Australians as wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2/75) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1/54) largely remained ineffective.However, the hosts staged a remarkable comeback in the last 10 overs of the game. It all started in the last ball of the 38th over when Finch lofted Kuldeep to Kedar Jadhav at deep-midwicket.