Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja stitched India’s highest sixth wicket partnership in One Day Internationals against Australia as the visitors avoided a whitewash defeating the hosts by 13 runs in the third and final match of the series.
Having already claimed the series with two comprehensive victories in the first two matches, Australia rested Pat Cummins and missed another pace spearhead Mitchell Starc and in-form opener David Warner.
Australia, however, managed to contain India’s top order except skipper Virat Kohli who completed yet aother milestone of reaching fastest 12 thousand runs in ODI and scored a half century before a 150-run partnership between Pandya and Jadeja lifted them to a challenging 302-5.
The Aussies were in an identical position at 158-5 and saw Glenn Maxwell leading the resurrection only to be undone by an excellent Jasprit Bumrah yorker before they were bundled out for 289 in 49.3 overs.
Australia lost Marnus Labuschagne (seven) to debutant T Natarajan and another in-form Steven Smith (seven) to Shardul Thakur. Aaron Finch stayed in the crease bringing 61-run partnership with Moises Henriques (22) but they were reduced to 158-5 inside 31 overs, the wickets also including that of Finch.
Finch marked a superb series with a century followed by two half centuries after making an 82-ball 75 with seven fours and three sixes.
Maxwell led the recovery with two half century partnership as Australia pushed for another victory. He shared 52 runs for the sixth wicket with Alex Carey (38) and 58 with Ashton Agar (28) for the seventh. The victory looked well within Australia’s grasp with 35 required after last 34 deliveries.
Bumrah changed the complexion of the game clean bowling Maxwell and Natarajan’s dismissal of Agar was virtually the end of the Australian challenge. Maxwell scored another impressive 59 hitting four sixes and three boundaries in his 38-ball innings. Thakur took 3-51 from 10 overs for India.
Earlier, India handed Shubman Gill his third ODI to open the innings in place of Mayanka Agrawal. Gill notched up his highest scored making 33 off 39 but Indian lost Shikhar Dhawan (16) with 26 on the board. Kohli raced to 12,000 runs surpassing greats Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in reaching the landmark in lesser innings after he reached 23 runs.
While Sachin had reached 12 thousand mark in 300 innings and Ponting took 314, 32-year Kohli achieved the feat in 242nd innings suggesting he still has a lot on offer. Kohli held the innings until he fell prey to Josh Hazlewood, for the third time in a row in the series.
He made a cautious 63 off 78 hitting five boundaries. After Kohli departed, Australia thought they had their day but Pandya and Jadeja punished the bowlers once smashing 150 runs in the last 18 overs.
Pandya brought his highest ODI score making 92 from 76. His innings included seven fours and a six. Jadeja upped the ante late and struck five fours and three sixes in his 50-ball 66. Agar took 2-44 from 10 overs for the Aussies.
The two teams will now lock horns in Twenty20, playing the first of the three-match series on Friday.