India vs Australia 2017: Pat Cummins tries to unnerve Hardik Pandya, Indian all-rounder replies with a swashbuckling knock
What's the story?
There haven't been many India-Australia encounters in the recent past where players from both the sides weren't involved in an exchange of pleasantries. In the third match of the ODI series between India and Australia at Indore, Hardik Pandya and Pat Cummins took it upon themselves to keep the 'tradition' alive.
In the 26th over of the Indian innings, both of them - predominantly Cummins - were seen trying to unnerve the other. Though there was no clear winner in the head-to-head battle, Pandya had the last laugh as he took the Indian team to a match and series win.
In case you didn't know...
After Aaron Finch (124) and Steve Smith (63) had given Australia a platform worthy enough of at least a score in the range of 320-350, Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar combined to stop Australia at 293 by the 50th over. Subsequently, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane gave India a blistering start and added 139 runs for the first wicket. Pandya, coming in at four, saw off the Australian attack in some style en route his half-century and took India to the doorstep of a series win.
The heart of the matter
The fast-bowling all-rounder has rightfully earned himself a reputation of hitting the biggest of maximums whenever an opportunity presents itself. Staying true to his approach, the all-rounder smacked Ashton Agar for a six on just the fourth ball he faced.
Cummins, bowling the next over, had a clear plan in mind - unnerve Pandya and force him into playing an irresponsible shot. On the second ball of the over, the Mumbai Indians all-rounder tried to cut Cummins between point and backward point but played it straight to the fielder. Soon after, the Australian strode forward and passed a couple of comments.
Similarly, on the next ball, Pandya tried to cut but found the fielder at point, Cummins strode forward yet again and tried to fluster the Gujarat player to which Pandya replied with the usual 'can't hear you, be loud'. Kohli went to his protege then and tried to calm him down.
Pandya, though, wanted to give an instant reply and rather wildly, tried to flick a full-length delivery and the ball struck him on the pads. Though the umpire rejected Australian appeals, Pandya had learnt his lesson. In a brilliant innings of 72-ball-78, the all-rounder singled out Ashton Agar and hit him for four sixes and played out the trickier customers with calmness and composure.
The youngster was indeed fired up by the sledging but did well to treat deliveries on merit and take India closer to the target, which MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey ultimately achieved for the team.