4th ODI: Turner turns it Aussies' way

4th ODI: Turner turns it Aussies' way

 India's Shikhar Dhawan reacts as he returns after his dismissal on 143 during the 4th ODI cricket match against Australia in Mohali, Sunday. PTI photo

 India asserted their batting prowess on ideal conditions. Australia, true to their type, fought back with vehemence. What followed was a thrilling run chase befitting the nature of the series. Momentum shifted hands, and in the end it was Australia who chased down 359 runs for a four-wicket victory to level the series on Sunday.

It was the highest successful run chase by a visiting team in India, orchestrated by the third-wicket stand of 192 between Peter Handscomb (117), who hit his maiden ODI century, and Usman Khawaja (91), before the chasing mastermind Ashton Turner (84 n.o. off 43) took over to take Australia across the line. It sets up an exciting series decider in New Delhi on March 13.

On a benign pitch. Shikhar Dhawan (143) and Rohit Sharma (95) bullied the Australian attack during their opening partnership of 193. India ended up racking 358/9 after electing to bat. But Australia completed the chase with 13 balls to spare as the Indians floundered on the field, with Rishabh Pant's missed stumping of Turner (on 38 then) proving particularly costly.

India made four changes to the team -- Pant coming in for MS Dhoni, KL Rahul for Ambati Rayudu, Bhuvneshwar Kumar for Mohammad Shami and Yuzvendra Chahal stepping in for Ravindra Jadeja. Australia replaced Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Lyon with Turner and Jason Behrendorff.

The Australian chase received early blows. Bhuvneshwar’s big inswinger knocked the bails of Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh couldn’t understand how Jasprit Bumrah’s delivery snuck it to crash the stumps. However, Khawaja and Handscomb cautiously worked on the revival before leaping into a full blown attack. As the two brought up their half-centuries by the 24th over, Australia had recovered much of the lost ground and it was India who were deep in worry about protecting the total.

It came to Bumrah to end the deadlock and he was right on the mark when Khawaja top edged his short ball to be caught at fine leg. Three overs later, Glenn Maxwell missed a reverse sweep off Yadav to be adjudged lbw, and the Indians were back in the contest. Turner gave a good account of himself but once Chahal got Handscomb in the 42nd over, India got a shot in the arm. But Turner and Alex Carey hit 86 runs off 39 balls for the sixth wicket to shock India, who made glaring errors on the field. Turner had another life when he was dropped by Dhawan at 81.

Dhawan, struggling for runs, had taken the lead to give India a strong start in the afternoon. Rohit made a measured start before joining his partner in taming the conditions with characteristic ruthlessness. The 50-run partnership came in 56 balls; their first in six innings.

The strokes came effortlessly from their blades -- silken and swift; the two running amok on familiar and favorable conditions. The Australian attack was at its wit’s end to contain the two.  As Dhawan made a confident sprint towards his century, Rohit came into own. He, however, pulled Jhye Richardson to deep mid-wicket to miss out on a well-deserved century. There was no stopping Dhawan though. He raised his 16th century off a mere 97 balls before being bowled by Cummins in the 38th over.

It triggered a mini-collapse. Kohli was caught behind for 7 and Rahul followed shortly after. Rishabh Pant delighted during his stay before perishing at mid-on. The tail contributed with a few lusty hits to take the score past 350, but Australia were too good to be awed.


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