Warner, Finch take Australia to 334

Agarkar: India should look to play six bowlers (1:25)

With the series won, India could try and experiment in the remaining ODIs while Australia might look to rest few bowlers as well (1:25)

50 overs Australia 334 for 5 (Warner 124, Finch 94, Handscomb 43, Umesh 4-71) v India
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It is tough to imagine an Australian side of the old 3-0 down in a series after the dominating positions they got themselves into in all three preceding games. In failing to capitalise fully on a 231-run opening stand, they left themselves susceptible to a fourth such reversal. David Warner scored a hundred in his 100th ODI, Aaron Finch biffed his way to 94 and to the top of the runs chart this series despite playing only two matches but Australia managed just 103 in the last 15, setting India 335.

In this slide, though, a slow pitch might have played its part, which will give Australia hope in their defence. Causing damage to India was a part-time bowler whose success at limiting batsmen should not come as a surprise any more. His low-arm action resembles a man bowling to under-10 kids in street cricket, but in international limited-overs cricket, India go to Kedar Jadhav only when all else has failed against big-hitting batsmen.

As seen in the Champions Trophy, hardly ever does Jadhav’s unusual bowling fail. He came on to bowl in the 31st over with no wicket taken, with two of cricket’s biggest hitters looking to hit every ball big, and produced the wicket of Warner in a spell of 7-0-38-1. Umesh Yadav then removed Finch and Steven Smith to expose the softer underbelly of Australia’s batting. Three wickets fell for five runs, no boundary came in 50 balls, and Peter Handscomb and Travis Head had to contend with a partnership at 6.51 an over in the absence of the dropped Glenn Maxwell.

Umesh was in part responsible for the rollicking start. There were early signs that the ball stopped on the batsmen, making it difficult to play the cut or the pull. However, Shami and Umesh, playing ahead of the rested Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, provided full balls far too often, getting driven for runs on a quick and small outfield. Finch began the aggression, but Warner caught up soon and then left his opening partner far behind.

In the 10th over of the innings, Warner and Finch announced they were racing each other with Warner hitting Umesh for two fours and Finch ending the Powerplay with another. India went to Axar Patel immediately, who played ahead of the rested Kuldeep Yadav, but that only provided momentary relief. Axar’s response to the short boundaries and aggressive intent was to go flatter and shorter, but his bounce meant Warner could keep clearing the boundary.

Yuzvendra Chahal tried to bowl stump to stump and produced a stumping opportunity in the 23rd over, but MS Dhoni was beaten comprehensively by a legbreak that didn’t turn. Finch was only 47 then; Warner had raced away into the 80s. India didn’t paint themselves with glory in the field either, misfielding quite a few, but that was also down to arguably the bumpiest – even dangerous for diving – outfield in India.

This was around the time Finch took the lead in scoring, lofting Axar inside-out for a six and then cashing in on the consequent short balls. The hitting from both the batsmen was intelligent, going after errors in length but also manufacturing errors in length with their attacking batting. By the time Warner reached his 14th ODI hundred, somehow managing to time a slow low wide ball from Jadhav for four, Finch had almost caught up, waltzing into his 80s.

Warner broke away again, this time taking apart Axar’s flat bowling, taking 16 off the 34th over. Finch began the next by hitting Jadhav for only the fifth six in his career. Things looked well and truly dangerous for India now. Australia were now 228 for 0 at the start of the 35th over; Warner’s double-century, a team score of 375, nothing could be ruled out. Then a short ball from Jadhav didn’t rise, and Warner failed to clear long-on.

India went back to Umesh, discovered the ball was reversing and also stopping on the batsmen. A wide slower legcutter accounted for Finch as he looked to clear mid-on. An indication that the pitch was not straightforward was how Smith got out: looking to play a length ball to square leg but ending up chipping to midwicket; he hardly ever gets out in that manner.

Handscomb walked out to a bit of lip from India fielders, which could possibly be their reaction to his verbals when he kept wicket in the last match, but he showed the wherewithal to make sure Australia didn’t completely tail off even as Head struggled to get his timing. Handscomb’s 43 off 30 balls, combined with the absence of “the two best death bowlers” according to Smith, made sure this wasn’t an exact repeat of Indore for Australia. Forty-seven came in the last four overs.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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