Australia looked all set for a historic win when Adam Zampa got Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja in the 29th over en route bowling a maiden, the result was all but obvious. India was left with Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to chase another 141 runs at more than run-a-ball. 

One more wicket and the Delhi crowd would have seen an early end to the game, which is not what the expectations were in the last ODI that Team India were playing ahead of the World Cup. The batting depth came to haunt India once again, and though Jadhav and Bhuvi narrowed down the target considerably, the chinks in the armor can in no way be ignored.

India were left with 59 runs to win in 30 deliveries, with both Jadhav and Bhuvi batting in their 40s. However, the fight had to end sooner than later, and the partnership was ended when the latter tried to clear the infield in the 46th over. It opened the gates for an Indian collapse and a rare series defeat for the Men in Blue.

At the other end, Jadhav who had to now go for everything perished in the next over, as he pulled Jhye Richardson to the fielder at fine leg. The rest of the batting unit failed to stick around, succumbing to 237 runs in reply to Australia’s 272. The win at Feroz Shah Kotla was Australia’s first after six series defeats, and it was India’s first defeat at home since 2015. Team India also managed to lose a home series to Australia for the first time since 2009.

Rohit, who got his 41st fifty in the game, tried his best but was hampered by the quick loss of wickets at the other end. Shikhar Dhawan played down the wrong line, while Virat Kohli found the edge while trying to play a hard stroke. Rishabh Pant, who was auditioning for a role, edged a Nathan Lyon delivery to first slip after attempting a forward defense. Vijay Shankar was out as he was looking to hit Adam Zampa off the park and Jadeja’s dismissal that closely followed the opener’s, stalled the Indian run-chase on a sluggish track.

Jadhav and Bhuvi then put up an audacious fight as they stitched 99 runs together in only 17.1 overs. The Australian innings was led by a fine Usman Khawaja knock, who scored his second ton in the series. With Aaron Finch looking scratchy, the impetus was on Khawaja who impressed with an array of shots and flicks that raced away to the boundary. After the Aussie skipper’s dismissal, Peter Handscomb combined with Khawaja to lay a fluent partnership together.

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The duo attacked from both ends and managed to dispel the threat of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. They were particularly harsh on Kedar Jadhav, who was taken off the attack after bowling just one over. However, Khawaja’s dismissal shifted the momentum in India’s favor as Australia collapsed from 175 for 1 to 182 for 4.

The middle order failed to get going for the visitors with India’s bowlers picking up wickets at regular intervals. Jadeja bagged a couple, while Mohammad Shami picked up 2 as well. Bhuvi scalped 3 and the only respite that the Australians had was when they scored 19 runs in the 48th over off Jasprit Bumrah, who had conceded only 14 runs in his first eight overs.

Though Australia had looked well set for a score of more than 300 after the first 25 overs, they kept their nerves and showed intent to become only the fifth side to win a 5-match series after being 0-2 down.

Brief Scores: Australia 272/9 in 50 overs (Usman Khawaja 100, Peter Handscomb 52; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-48, Ravindra Jadeja 2-45) beat India 237 in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 56, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 46; Adam Zampa 3-46, Pat Cummins 2-38) by 35 runs.

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