If the cricketing realm was still unsure of Ashton Turner’s skills as an international player, it was brought to the fore in the perfect manner during the fourth ODI between Australia and India.
In a match where two players smashed tons and yet another two managed nineties, it was Turner’s decisive knock that was the most crucial as the Kangaroos chased down their highest target to win the game by 4 wickets. Turner ended with 84 off only 43 deliveries, an innings that was laced with five fours and six sixes.
Australia pull off their biggest ODI chase to level the series in Mohali!
Ashton Turner finishes it superbly with 84 off 43 balls after Handscomb (117) and Khawaja (91) set up a fantastic pursuit. Australia win by four wickets! #INDvAUS scorecard ➡️ https://t.co/X4QGtIjbn2 pic.twitter.com/OnUn4p3DZD
— ICC (@ICC) March 10, 2019
Replacing the injured Marcus Stoinis, Turner walked in to bat after Australia were in a spot of bother. Despite Peter Hadscomb’s ton and Usman Khawaja’s 91, the pressure of chasing 359 was always going to be immense, but Turner ensured it was light work with some insane hitting. He attacked all of India’s frontline bowlers, sent the ball all across the stadium and helped his team draw level in the series.
The visitors had however gotten off to a poor start when Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the wicket of Aaron Finch in the very first over. Shaun Marsh was then sent back in quick succession by Jasprit Bumrah and Australia were reeling at 12 for 2. However, Handscomb and Khawaja got together to steady the ship.
The pair took their time by dealing in singles and twos and only hitting the bad balls to the ropes. However, the arrival of the fifth bowlers Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar allowed the batters to get set and the duo soon started coming into their own. Handscomb, in particular, was too harsh on Jadhav as he smashed him for 19 runs in the 33rd over, which helped him move into the 90s.
However, Khawaja was soon dismissed as Bumrah hit him with a wonderful bouncer. In arrived Glenn Maxwell, who hit two fours in the first five deliveries he faced. Handscomb at the other end brought up his first ODI hundred and with Maxi in fine form too, Australia would have fancied their chances.
However, soon, Maxwell was trapped LBW in front to hamper their progress but in walked in Turner, who was to pitch in with possible career-defining innings. Playing only his second game, the player kept his nerves and his calm to ensure a memorable win for the side.
The batter used his height to great advantage to nullify the threat of the spinners and brought his power to the fore when the pacers came in. Bhuvi was hit for 20 runs off his eight over as Australia needed only 42 to win off the last 30 deliveries. After being given a reprieve by Rishabh Pant when he was on 38, Turner was offered another chance when both Jadhav and Shikhar Dhawan dropped him in the 47th over. It summed up the story of the match.
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Earlier, after winning the toss and surprisingly batting, India got off to a fine start as both their openers came back to form. While Rohit Sharma was out for 95, Dhawan struck his 16th ODI ton that helped India post 358 for 9. Dhawan got into rhythm early, regularly hitting fours and finding gaps. He managed to strike at run a ball from the very start, which allowed Rohit to settle down and get a feel of the track.
The openers were in attacking mode after the early jitters, with the Delhi player attacking the bowlers and Rohit slowly coming into his own.
Even after his dismissal, the duo of KL Rahul and Dhawan ensured there was no drop in momentum, and their efforts helped India post a mammoth target. However, Turner’s carnage meant that the hosts were unable to get across the line.
Brief scores: India 358/9 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 143, Rohit Sharma 95; Pat Cummins 5-70) lost to Australia 359/6 in 47.5 overs (Peter Handscomb 117, Usman Khawaja 91, Ashton Turner 84*; Jasprit Bumrah 3-63) by four wickets.