Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - India's record run chase ends Australia's winning streak. Jhulan Goswami led the way with a three-wicket haul before completing a chase with the bat
Jhulan Goswami led the way with a three-wicket haul before completing a chase with the bat
For the second time in as many matches, India and Australia were involved in a cliffhanger, but it was the turn of the visitors to script a memorable victory, as they crossed the finish line with two wickets in hand and three balls to spare in the third ODI in Mackay. With this win, India also broke Australia's record-breaking streak of 26 wins in a row in the ODI format.
With 10 overs to go, India required 62 runs off 60 balls. However, Mithali Raj, who averages over 100 in winning chases in ODIs, was increasingly getting frustrated by the tactics of Annabel Sutherland and Stella Campbell to pound it on a hard length on a track offering some bounce. In an attempt to break the shackles, Raj skipped down the deck to Sutherland only to hear the stumps shatter. At that juncture, with the match in the balance, the pair of Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana strung together a crucial alliance of 33 off 34 balls.
Deepti, who had made her intentions clear at the start of her innings with a couple of pull shots, looked more assured of the two. Meanwhile, Rana had her share of close escapes, including being dropped twice in a single over off Sophie Molineux's bowling and a few run out chances were also missed. In the 46th over, Nicola Carey also took a catch off her own bowling, but Rana got another reprieve as replays showed that the bowler had overstepped. On the other hand, Molineux had shown courage by returning to the field despite copping a blow to her mouth when she tried to stop a ball in the 40th over.
Just when Deepti looked set to take India to glory, she drove one uppishly to Carey at point who pouched the catch. Rana then took over the mantle of spearheading India's chase by cracking three successive boundaries off Tahila McGrath, including a cheeky scoop shot off the fourth ball of the over. In the 49th over, with six needed off eight balls, it felt as if Rana would steer India home. However, there was more action and drama when Rana pulled Carey straight to the Hannah Darlington, the substitute fielder stationed at long leg. The experienced Jhulan Goswami, who was at the receiving end of a heartbreaking loss in the previous game, then guided the visiting side to their highest successful run chase in ODIs with a boundary off Molineux in the final over.
The crux of India's chase was built on Yastika Bhatia's 69-ball 64. The southpaw made her ODI debut in the first game of the series with only one List A fifty to her name. Lofts, pulls, the occasional drive and steer – Bhatia had answers to everything that Australia tried.
Shafali Verma's 91-ball 56 and her opening stand of 59 with Smriti Mandhana also played key roles in India's victory. Meanwhile, Australia would be ruing the fact that they gave away 31 wides. Ellyse Perry, in particular, struggled to control swing and finished up with disappointing figures of 0 for 34 in five overs. Sutherland was the best bowler on show for Australia and ended up with a three-for while the brave Molineux finished with noteworthy figures of 1 for 41 from 9.5 overs.
Earlier, Australia were pegged back upfront due to Goswami's double strike. The experienced seamer removed Rachael Haynes in the ninth over with Verma grabbing the catch at mid-off. She then reserved her for the fulcrum of Australia's batting unit, Lanning.
Goswami bowled a couple of tempters outside the off-stump. She continued with the same plan and reaped the reward when Lanning tried to drive an away-going delivery and could only edge it behind.
The Indian camp had a lot more to celebrate as Alyssa Healy was run out on the back of a direct-hit from Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Australia soon lost their fourth wicket when Pooja Vastrakar accounted for the scalp of Perry.
At that moment, Beth Mooney (52) and Ashleigh Gardner (67) strung together an association of 98 to help Australia recover from a precariously placed 87 for 4. Mooney took advantage of a couple of dropped catches and blended caution with aggression to keep the scorecard ticking over. Her batting partner, Gardner, used her feet to good effect against the spinners. Tahila McGrath (32-ball 47) then provided the impetus to push Australia past the 250-run mark.
The two teams will next lock horns in the pink-ball Test, starting on September 30. Going into the next part of the multi-format series, Australia have a few injury concerns, with both Haynes and Mooney struggling with hamstring problems. Molineux's freakish injury just adds to their injury woes.
Brief scores: Australia 264/9 in 50 overs (Ashleigh Gardner 67, Beth Mooney 52; Jhulan Goswami 3-37) lost to India 266/8 in 49.3 overs (Yastika Bhatia 64; Annabel Sutherland 3-30) by two wickets.