Australia’s cricketers have exacted revenge for Wednesday’s stunning loss to India by inflicting a record-breaking run chase of their own to win the third one-day match in Mohali.
Just three days after India produced the second-greatest chase of alltime, Australia produced a miracle win when faced with a similarly mountainous task.
Led by James Faulkner’s incredible 64 off 29 balls, Australia ran down India’s target of 304 with three balls and four wickets to spare – easily their biggest successful chase on Indian soil.
The match turned on its head in the 48th over when Faulkner thumped 30 runs, including four enormous sixes, off a despondent Ishant Sharma (1-63).
Needing nine off the final over, the Tasmanian allrounder sealed the comeback with his sixth six of a ridiculous innings.
Faulkner’s heroics would not have been possible without the rebuilding efforts of Adam Voges (76no) and George Bailey (43) and completely overshadowed MS Dhoni’s majestic 139no in India’s innings.
Dhoni offered just one chance – a skied catch when on 105 in the second last over, which was spilled by the normally safe hands of Bailey.
Despite there being just 11 deliveries remaining, Dhoni managed to add 34 runs following the drop, passing 7500 one day runs in the process.
The final 10 overs were a whirlwind of boundary-clearing helicopter shots, smashes through cover and others which only a handful of world cricketers could conjure.
He calculated his innings meticulously, playing within himself as he helped India recover from a Mitchell Johnson-inspired collapse.
But once Dhoni decided to up the tempo, the runs flowed freely – finishing with 12 boundaries and five sixes – as he added 76 with Ravi Ashwin (28) and 72 with Virat Kohli (68).
On two occasions Johnson (4-46) threatened to take the match away from the home side – and nearly became the sixth Australian to take an ODI hattrick.
The 31-year-old rattled Suresh Raina with his pace and bounce, having him caught by Shane Watson at first slip, before removing hometown favourite Yuvraj Singh the following delivery.
Johnson couldn’t deliver on his hattrick delivery but he returned to claim the scalps of Ravindra Jadeja (2) and Ashwin.
Australia’s chase started promisingly, with Aaron Finch (38) and Phil Hughes (22) posting their third-straight 50-run opening stand.
But when Hughes was caught behind off Vinay Kumar to make the score 1-68 two wickets followed soon after and the chase became ever more imposing.
Hughes’ exit was followed soon after by dubious back-to-back LBWs to remove Finch and Shane Watson (11) as Australia slumped to 3-88.
Bailey and Adam Voges combined for the biggest partnership of the match, putting on 83 runs, but the departure of the skipper brought the needless runout of Glenn Maxwell (3).
When Maxwell was runout in Jaipur it was entirely his own doing – but on this occasion he was justifiably frustrated by Voges’ decision to change his call mid-pitch and sent the power-hitting allrounder back to the pavilion.
Brad Haddin (24 off 16) and Voges added 39 in quick time, but when the wicketkeeper was caught in the deep off Bhuvneshwar Kumar Australia’s unlikely charge looked shot.
Faulkner had other ideas and the Australians now lead the seven-match series 2-1.