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Australia's ODI ranking plummets on the verge of series whitewash

Travis Head bowls. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Expert
25th September, 2017
117
1628 Reads

Despite Aaron Finch’s brilliant century in the third One Day International at Indore on Sunday, India won by five wickets to clinch the series 3-0.

India has won nine ODIs in a row since July this year: against the West Indies in West Indies, five against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and now three against Australia in India.

Indian cricketers should feel proud defeating World Cup holders Australia 3-0: by 26 runs at Chennai in the first ODI, by 50 runs at Kolkata and by five wickets at Indore on Sunday.

India has already won the series despite another two more ODIs to go, at Bangalore on 28th September and at Nagpur on 1st October.

It is for the first time that India has defeated Australia in the first three ODIs in a bilateral series.

Now India is ranked no. 1 in ODIs, just as they are in Test rankings. Also, Virat Kohli is ranked number one batsman in ODIs and in T20 Internationals. However, in Test cricket, Steve Smith is still ranked as number one batsman.

Call him the sultan of sixes or a six maniac, all-rounder Hardik Pandya has tilted the series India’s way. He was once again awarded man of the match honours for hitting 78 runs with five fours and four sixes besides taking the vital wicket of David Warner in the Indore ODI last night.

This was Pandya’s fourth 50 in ODIs – all in 2017 and all at a strike rate of over 100.

Australia won the toss and started sensationally, openers Warner and Aaron Finch putting on 70 runs for the first wicket. Then with skipper Steve Smith (63), Finch (124 including 12 fours and five sixes) blasted 154 more runs.

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The tourists looked winners at one for 224 in 37.4 overs. But then young Indian spinners Yuzendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav took vital wickets and Australia could add only 69 runs off 74 balls to total six for 293 in 50 overs.

Indian openers Rohit Sharma (71 with six fours and four sixes) and Ajinkya Rahane (70 with nine fours) batted brilliantly to put on 139 for the first wicket.

Although skipper Kohli failed, man-of-the-match Pandya took over and India won by five wickets to win the series.

The highlight of the contest so far has been baby-faced left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav taking a hat-trick in the second ODI at Kolkata last week. He became only the third Indian to take a hat-trick in ODIs.

The first to achieve this was Chetan Sharma in the 1987 World Cup at Nagpur. The second was the legendary Kapil Dev against Sri Lanka in 1991 at Kolkata.

Kuldeep’s was the 44th hat-trick in the history of ODIs.

Will Australia fight back in the next two ODIs? I have said it before and will say it again. Please fly off-spinner Nathan Lyon to India, now!

Pandya won’t strike him for sixes as he has paralysed Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar in the previous ODIs.

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The fourth ODI will be held on Thursday, September 28 at 5:50 pm (AEST) and broadcasted on Foxsports.