India vs Australia 2017, 3rd ODI: 5 things we learnt from the match
Aided by a sensational 139-run opening stand from Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane and a cool-headed finish by Hardik Pandya, India sealed a fine run chase to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. Opting to bowl first, India were faced by a rampant Aaron Finch and David Warner as the Aussie openers put on 70 for the first wicket. Steven Smith and Finch further piled on India's misery with a 154-run association.
But one wicket brought many as Australia struggled to carry their momentum into the death overs. India's wrist spinners and death bowlers exerted lots of pressure as the Aussie innings fizzled off.
With 294 to chase, the openers got India off to a flier. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane added a sizzling 139 before both fell in quick succession. Hardik Pandya, however, took matters into his own hands as he, in the company of Manish Pandey, resurrected India's innings and nearly finished off the run chase, with a superb 78.
Brief Scores: Australia 293/6 (Finch 124, Smith 63, Bumrah 2/52) lost to India 294/5 (Pandya 78, Rohit 71)
#5 Finch is critical to Australia's ODI team
Finch put an end to Australia's opening dilemma by smashing a rampant 124 on his return to the ODI team. While Hilton Cartwright was a huge disappointment for the visitors at the top, Finch returned with roaring success to partner Warner, with whom he shares very good camaraderie.
On a flat batting wicket, Finch utilised the pace on the ball to score quickly. He played second-fiddle to Warner at the start before blazing away against the wrist spinners. There was brute power and classy timing behind his shots as he raced to an eighth ODI hundred. His downfall triggered a collapse in the Aussie middle-order.
#4 Australia's middle-order lets them down
When the openers finally gave the visitors a perfect platform to launch from, the middle-order shut down the momentum by consuming a lot of balls and allowing the Indian spinners to get on top. Finch and Steven Smith had taken Australia to 216/1 in 36 overs but the former's wicket resulted in Australia losing the plot.
Glenn Maxwell, who has had a quiet run in the ODI side of late, struggled to score and piled the pressure on Smith, who holed out. Maxwell, Head and Handscomb followed in quick succession as Australia's innings spiralled out of control.
#3 Kuldeep has mixed days often
Kuldeep Yadav may have become the third Indian bowler to pick up a hat-trick in ODIs, in the second ODI at Kolkata, but he had struggled for any kind of rhythm before the three memorable balls. At Indore, the chinaman once again appeared below his best, conceding runs against a fiery Aaron Finch.
But Kuldeep returned with a bang, capturing the vital wickets of Finch and Smith in quick succession to put Australia under pressure. Finch and Smith were the visitors' two settled batsmen and once they departed, Australia struggled for any kind of momentum.
#2 India's openers go hammer and tongs
If Australia had a great start courtesy Warner and Finch, India bettered it thanks to Rohit Sharma's sublime stroke-making and Ajinkya Rahane's early diligence. Rohit was in the mood from the word go and revealed his intentions by pulling Pat Cummins for six before driving Coulter-Nile over mid-off for another maximum.
The opener seemed all set for another big haul with Rahane playing a studious second-fiddle. But a Coulter-Nile bouncer got the better of him on 71, as the opening partnership worth 139 came to an end. Rahane was an able ally to Rohit at the start of the innings. However, following Rohit's dismissal, he started to go for his shots, taking on Stoinis for three boundaries in the 10th over. He, however, departed in the 70s soon after Rohit's dismissal.
#1 Hardik Pandya dons the finisher role
The Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was spot on when he said that Hardik Pandya would have a meteoric rise in the Indian team. He has so far showcased his ability to grab the game by the scruff of its neck and finish it off. The Baroda all-rounder once again did it here at Indore.
His impact was first felt in the game when he broke Australia's opening partnership. But his biggest contribution came in the chase when he walked in at no.4 to guide India to victory.
He lost his captain on the way, but Pandya was unperturbed and continued nailing the big hits. Four sixes and five fours adorned his sensational, match-winning knock. He took India to the cusp of victory before falling to Pat Cummins, with the game all but sealed.