Hardik Pandya, Siraj's three-fers restrict Aus to 269 allout
Chennai, Mar 22 (UNI) An inspiring three-fers by Hardik Pandya and Mohammad Siraj restricted Australia to a fighting total of 269 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in third and ODI series decider here on Wednesday.
The Australian openers- Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh - were off to a quick start, and were looking dangerous for India as they put on 68 runs in 10.5 overs.
But, Hardik Pandya came into the attack and picked up three wickets in his first three overs to outclass the visitors. He proved once again that he is an important member of the team, who has the ability to finish the game off and pick wickets at crucial junctures, a quality that makes him the backbone of this team.
Hardik kept the Australian batsmen under check by hitting right lengths and line, on a two-paced wicket. He first got rid of Head (33 off 31) after the Aussie opener was dropped by Shubman Gill on 17 at deep square leg.
The Gujarat Giants Captain then enticed Captain Steve Smith who nicked one to KL Rahul behind the stumps for a duck.
In the next over, Hardik nipped out dangerous-looking Marsh in the next over for 47 off 47, an innings decked with 8 boundaries and a six.
Australia slipped from 68/0 to 85/3.
David Warner (23 off 31), batting at an unusual No.4 position, repaired the Australian innings along with Marnus Labuschagne (28 off 45), but both the Aussie batsmen gave it away after getting vital starts. They perished to leftarm leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, trying to take the aerial route.
Alex Carey (38 off 46) and Marcus Stoinis (25 off 26) groomed a vital 58 runs stand and another 42 runs between Sean Abbot and Ashton Agar, but fell just when they looked threatening.
Kuldeep then wound up a magic to clean up Carey and Australia were struggling at 203/7.
Mohammad Siraj took 2/37 that helped India to quickly end Australia's innings.
Brief Scores: Australia 269 all out (Mitchell Marsh 47; Hardik Pandya 3-44, Kuldeep Yadav 3-56) vs India
(With UNI inputs)