CANBERRA: Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah found his mojo and the Indian team its winning ways in a morale-lifting 13-run triumph over Australia in the third and final ODI on Wednesday, salvaging some of the lost pride in a 1-2 series defeat.
An in-form Hardik Pandya blasted 92 not out off 76 balls and Ravindra Jadeja’s useful 66 off 50 took India to a healthy 302 for 5 in 50 overs after an inept show in the first 30 overs.
It was at least 30 runs short of a par-score on a good batting track but a rejigged bowling attack managed to restrict the home team to 289 all out in 49.3 overs.
Shardul Thakur (3/51) and debutant Thangarasu Natarajan (2/70 in 10 overs) did their bit but it was Bumrah’s (2/43 in 9.3 overs) controlled effort with some swing upfront and the dismissal of a marauding Glenn Maxwell in the nick of time which ultimately turned the match in India’s favour.
Bumrah did the most important thing by bowling one in the block-hole that had the dangerous Maxwell (59 off 38 balls) having his own little “brain fade” moment trying to free his arms exposing the stumps.
The ‘Big Show’ was in a mood to punish the bowlers and all he needed was to see off Bumrah and attack the others as he was doing.
The cushion provided by his “senior” helped Natarajan to start bowling his yorkers under pressure and Thakur also chipped in with necessary wickets.
The inconsequential match became something of consequence for Virat Kohli and his men as they gear up for the next white-ball series — three T20 Internationals in less than 48 hours. India’s bowling attack had a different look and it did perform way better compared to the first two games.
Natarajan was very steady in his first spell and got his maiden wicket when Marnus Labuschagne (7), in an unfamiliar role as opener, dragged a wide delivery back onto the stumps.
Thakur, replacing a rested Mohammed Shami, was also lucky when Steve Smith (7) tried to tickle one down on the ‘fifth leg stump’ to be caught by KL Rahul behind the stumps.
Moises Henriques (22) and skipper Aaron Finch (75) looked good during their 51-run stand for the third wicket before the former failed to keep a pull-shot down off Thakur’s bowling.
However, what was more heartening was Kuldeep Yadav’s (1/57 in 10 overs) restrained bowling in the middle overs with the last over punishment by Maxwell being more of an aberration. The flight was back and so was the dip in the air that used to create confusion in the minds of batsmen.
Debutant Cameron Green (21) played an uppish slog sweep off Kuldeep which was snapped inches off the ground by Jadeja. Jadeja (1/62 in 10 overs), who had a field day, topped up a solid batting show with the prized wicket of the rival captain Finch as Shikhar Dhawan managed to make an easy catch look difficult at long-on.