India restrict Australia to 313/5 despite Khawaja, Finch knocks

PTI
Friday, 8 March 2019

Indian pacers covered up commendably for a rare off-day endured by the spinners as Australia were restricted to 313 despite a 193-run opening stand between skipper Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja in the third ODI here Friday.

Ranchi: Indian pacers covered up commendably for a rare off-day endured by the spinners as Australia were restricted to 313 despite a 193-run opening stand between skipper Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja in the third ODI here Friday.
 
Usman Khawaja (104, 113 balls) scored his maiden ODI ton while skipper Finch (93, 99 balls) chose this particular match to get back to form. Glenn Maxwell (47 off 31 balls) also contributed with lusty blows. 

The Indian spinners -- Ravindra Jadeja (0/64 in 10 overs) and Kedar Jadhav (0/32 in 2 overs) -- were carted all around the park. Kuldeep Yadav (3/64 in 10 overs), however, redeemed himself at the back-end of the innings. 

The trio gave away 160 runs in 22 overs and it was left to Jasprit Bumrah (0/53) and Mohammed Shami (1/52 in 10 overs) to maintain the discipline during the final overs as the total could have gone close to the 350-run mark.
 
In the final 10 overs, Australia could score only 69 runs, despite being 244 for 2 after 40 overs, courtesy Bumrah and Shami who bowled 64 dot balls between them. 

The fielding on the day was also way below par as Shikhar Dhawan, at square leg dropped Khawaja, who tried a reverse sweep, while batting on 17 off Jadeja's bowling.
 
Virat Kohli, Kedar Jadhav, Jasprit Bumrah were all guilty of slip-ups on the field which also released the pressure on the visitors. 

With the pitch on offer being the best in three games, the Australian openers showed positive intent from the start.
 
Mohammmed Shami's freak on-field injury also played its part as he had to leave the field temporarily after bowling the first three overs.
 
The momentum shifted from there on as both Finch and Khawaja played the spin troika brilliantly. 
Vijay Shankar (0/44 in 8 overs) had to share bulk of the load between the fifth and sixth bowler after Kedar was mercilessly hammered by Finch, who hit all his three sixes in the arc -- between long-on and deep mid-wicket.
 
Jadeja as usual was ineffective on a placid track and was hit for as many as six fours and a six. 
Both Finch and Khawaja and later Maxwell used big front-foot strides to counter the spinners.
 
With Kedar, whenever he tossed it up, Finch would clear his front leg and fetch it from outside the off-stump, swatting him over deep mid-wicket. 

If he bowled with a side-arm lower trajectory, Finch would rock back and play him square off the wicket.
 
In case of Jadeja, the inside-out shot and the cut was used liberally by Khawaja and Maxwell. 

For Kuldeep, the Australians decided to plonk their front-foot, negate the spin and hit him through the line for sixes. 

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