By Sam Ferris at Feroz Shah Kotla ground, Delhi
AUSTRALIA showed nerves of steel to complete a historic comeback overnight, winning the fifth one-day international in Delhi by 35 runs to take the series 3-2.
Opening batsman Usman Khawaja was the hero for the Australians with his second ODI century in three innings to lead the tourists to 272-9 before leg-spinner Adam Zampa (3-46) and an all-round bowling effort dismissed India for 237 on the final ball of the run chase.
Australia looked like romping to victory after Zampa and co. reduced India to 132-6 in the 29th over, but a dogged partnership between Kedar Jadhav (44) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (46) of 91 had the visitors on edge.
But when the pair fell in consecutive balls inside the final five overs, the Australians breathed a sigh of relief, celebrated jubilantly and finished off the series few gave them any hope of claiming.
No Australian team had ever come back from 0-2 in a five-match series and won, but Aaron Finch’s side now head to the UAE with that piece of history and the series silverware.
It has been a memorable tour for Australia, who began with a 2-0 sweep of the T20I leg – their first-ever T20 series win over India – before fighting back from losses in Hyderabad and Nagpur with victories in Ranchi, Mohali and Delhi to seal their first ODI series win in India in a decade.
The triumph is also Australia’s first ODI series win since January 2017, at home against Pakistan, and their first one-day series win on foreign soil since beat Sri Lanka in 2016.
Perhaps most impressively, this side is almost indistinguishable to the one that got blown off the park in England nine months ago in Justin Langer’s first series as head coach.
The fight Langer has promised was on full show yesterday.
After electing to bat and motoring to 1-175 on the back of Khawaja’s even 100, Australia lost 54-6 to almost undo all the good work they had done on a difficult pitch that has only twice seen a team score beyond 300.
The top three – Khawaja, Finch (43) and Peter Handscomb (52) – continued their good form before the middle order of No.4 Glenn Maxwell (1), returning all-rounder Marcus Stoinis (20), second-gamer Ashton Turner (20) and gloveman Alex Carey (3) fell in 12 overs to hand the ascendency to the hosts.
But what’s been a hallmark of this team under Finch and Langer is how they’ve rallied when they look down and out, like they did in the first T20I in Vizag to pinch a final-ball win and again here tonight.
Jhye Richardson (28) and Pat Cummins (13) put on a vital 34 for the eighth wicket to take the total beyond 250 to a score India had not reached at Feroz Shah Kotla in 25 years.
Then with the ball it was Zampa who again picked up the big wickets like he has done all series, with the prized wicket of Virat Kohli falling to Stoinis.
India’s run chase never gathered momentum as they regularly lost wickets to a well-drilled Australian attack that wasn’t at their best in the field yesterday but kept the pressure on the home side, who struggled to find the boundary after the opening powerplay.
After Kohli edged a short ball behind from Stoinis the crowd lost its gusto and was almost completely deflated when Zampa had Rohit Sharma (56) and Ravindra Jadeja (0) both stumped in the same over.
Rohit, having been dropped in the over by Maxwell at cover, threw everything into his wild swipe – including his bat that landed near the 30-year fielding restriction circle – as Carey whipped off the bails.
India were never going to succumb to a huge defeat on home soil and through Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar the hosts took the game deep – a common theme this tour.
As the required run rate hovered around 11, the batsmen were in the game and the bowlers could not find a wicket until Cummins broke through to extract a leading edge from Bhuvneshwar’s bat.
Jadhav was caught on the boundary the next ball to leave the final three batsmen to reel in 50 from 23 balls, a tough ask even for recognised batters.
Cummins finished the ODI campaign with 14 wickets, the equal-most by an Australian in a bilateral series against India and was a revolution with the new ball having been denied it for more than a year.
Stoinis, who overcame a thumb injury to play in place of veteran Shaun Marsh, finished the match by bowling Kuldeep Yadav with final ball of the tour, an emphatic way to end the series that began and ended with success. (Cricket.com.au)
AUSTRALIA 1st innings
Usman Khawaja c Virat Kohli b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 100
Aaron Finch b Ravindra Jadeja 27
Peter Handscomb c Rishabh Pant b Mohammed Shami 52
Glenn Maxwell c Virat Kohli b Ravindra Jadeja 1
Marcus Stoinis b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 20
Ashton Turner c Ravindra Jadeja b Kuldeep Yadav 20
Alex Carey c Rishabh Pant b Mohammed Shami 3
Jhye Richardson run-out Virat Kohli 29
Pat Cummins c & b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 15
Nathan Lyon not out 1
Extras: (1b-2, w-3) 4
Total: (nine wkts, 50.0 overs) 272
Fall of wickets: 1-76, 2-175, 3-178, 4-182, 5-210, 6-225, 7-229, 8-263, 9-272.
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10-0-48-3 (w-1), Mohammed Shami 9-0-57-2, Jasprit Bumrah 10-0-39-0, Kuldeep Yadav 10-0-74-1 (w-2), Ravindra Jadeja 10-0-45-2, Kedar Jadhav 1 -0-8-0.
INDIA 1st innings
Rohit Sharma stp. Alex Carey b Adam Zampa 56
Shikhar Dhawan c Alex Carey b Pat Cummins 12
Virat Kohli c Alex Carey b Marcus Stoinis 20
Rishabh Pant c Ashton Turner b Nathan Lyon 16
Vijay Shankar c Usman Khawaja b Adam Zampa 16
Kedar Jadhav c Glenn Maxwell b Jhye Richardson 44
Ravindra Jadeja stp. Alex Carey b Adam Zampa 0
Bhuvneshwar Kumar c Aaron Finch b Pat Cummins 46
Mohammed Shami c & b Jhye Richardson 3
Kuldeep Yadav b Marcus Stoinis 8
Jasprit Bumrah not out 1
Extras: (lb-7, w-8) 15
Total: (all out, 50.0 overs) 237
Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-68, 3-91, 4-120, 5-132, 6-132, 7-223, 8-223, 9-230.
Bowling: Pat Cummins 10-1-38-2 (w-1), Jhye Richardson 10-0-47-2, Marcus Stoinis 4-0-31-2 (w-2), Nathan Lyon 10-1-34-1 (w-1), Adam Zampa 10-1-46-3, Glenn Maxwell 6-0-34-0.