Friday, 22 March, 2019

Khawaja ton guides Australia to 272-9 in deciding ODI

Glenn Maxwell | Kedar Jadhav | India vs Australia 2019 India to clash with Australia in 5th ODI on March 13
Shannon Reynolds | 14 March, 2019, 15:56

The opener Khawaja strengthened his claim for a place in the World Cup squad with an elegant 100 to steer Australia to 272 for 9, although the tourists had looked on course to exceed 300 at one stage.

"The resilience and fight that we showed - being down 2-0 it would have been easy to roll over. we've had our backs against the walls for quite a while now, so I'm really proud of the group".

Their collapse from 2-0 up to a 3-2 defeat earned his side some harsh criticism in the media on Thursday, with a Times of India headline declaring "The Bubble Bursts", while the Indian Express said, "India lose grip, match, series".

First time Australia have won an ODI series in India since 2009.

However, the bowlers could not defend a total of 358 as Australia chased down the mammoth total with four wickets and 13 balls remaining to level the series 2-2.

The next assignment for the Indian players is the IPL, which begins on March 23, and Kohli said that the onus will be on the individual player to approach the franchise if he needs a break in a bid to stay fresh for the World Cup. Khawaja has batted extremely well throughout the series, it means a lot to come to India and win a series.

The win is Australia's first since they hosted Pakistan in January 2017, snapping a streak of six consecutive series defeats - Australia's worst run of all-time.

India to clash with Australia in 5th ODI on March 13

But Khawaja took over, scoring a second century for the series and taking his tally to 383 runs at 76.60 in the five matches.

When he played, and even when he did not, MS Dhoni established how important he is, from behind the stumps and in front of it.

Virat Kohli took back-to-back catches to dismiss Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell, and Shami sent back Peter Handscomb for 52.

Rohit Sharma's 53-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli (20) briefly calmed nerves in the Indian dressing room before their top-order caved in spectacularly.

Kedar Jadhav (44) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (46) threatened to deny Australia with a 91-run partnership, but Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson removed them in successive balls and India ultimately fell some way short on 237 all out, losing their last wicket to the final ball of the innings.

Allan Border Medallist Cummins continued to lead the bowling attack with 14 wickets at an average of 15 with Adam Zampa also contributing 11 wickets. He also opened up on the contentious IPL-player workload management, asking his players to go out and enjoy themselves in the annual T20 league that precedes the World Cup in England. "It gives us great confidence ahead of the World Cup." he said. It will be tough for the selectors with few guys coming in.

Ashley Turner, who made his ODI debut in the opening match of the series, hit a match-winning blitz of 84 not out in the fourth game to make a case for the World Cup squad.

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