• Awesome Aussies serve notice on World Cup

    It what will go down as one of the great ODI comebacks of all time, Australia romped home to a sensational victory after India had posted a massive 358-9 to level the ODI series 2-2 at Chandigarh on Sunday, writes SIMON LEWIS.

    In only his second ODI, 26-year-old Ashton Turner scored an incredible 84 not out for Australia off just 43 balls with five fours and six sixes to turn an unlikely victory into an easy romp home for Australia.

    With David Warner and Steve Smith still to return after their year-long bans, the signs are ominous that Australia might be peaking at just the right time to make an assault on the World Cup after a dreadful year of disappointments in international cricket.

    Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan got their innings off to a slow but steady start before accelerating beautifully, until Sharma fell for 95 (92 balls, 7×4, 2×6, S/R 103.26) at the end of the 31st over.

    Dhawan and KL Rahul (26 off 31 balls) kept the run rate above six to the over before the opener fell in the 38th over with the total on 254. Dhawan’s 143 came off 115 balls (18×4, 3×6, S/R 124.34), and bettered his previous highest ODI score of 137.

    READ ALSO: Kohli ton helps India edge Aussies

    Batting maestro Virat Kohli fell for just seven runs off six balls, but the middle order of Rishabh Pant (36 off 24 balls, S/R 150.00) and Vijay Shankar (26 off 15 balls, S/R 173.33) wagged beautifully. 

    An eventful final over saw Pat Cummins’ first ball hit for six by Shankar, who was then caught off the third ball of the over (following a wide delivery). Yuzvendra Chahal was caught and bowled for a first-ball duck off the fifth ball, leaving Jasprit Bumrah to walk to the wicket and hit the last ball of the over for six (the first ‘maximum’ of his career) to take India to an impressive 358-9.

    Cummins ended with his career-best ODI figures of 5-70, while Jhye Richardson (3-85) picked up some key wickets, although he was the most expensive of the Australian bowlers, going for 9.44 runs an over.

    READ ALSO: Cummins and Richardson defy Indian batsmen

    Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Bumrah grabbed two early wickets to leave Australia reeling at 12-2 in the fourth over. However, a superb stand of 192 runs off 178 balls for the third wicket between Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh kept Australia in the game, albeit with the run rate growing with every over.

    Khawaja was caught off Bumrah for 91 off 99 balls (7×4), after which Handscomb added 25 off 18 balls for the fourth wicket with Glenn Maxwell (23 off 13, S/R 176.92).

    Handscomb and Turner then put together a speedy 42 runs off 30 balls for the fifth wicket to take Australia to 271-5 at the start of the 42nd over, with Handscomb falling for a superb 117 off 105 balls (8×4, 3×6, S/R 111.2).

    Ashton Turner (Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

    Needing 88 to win off eight overs and five balls, Turner and Alex Carey turned on the magic in sensational fashion as they plundered the Indian attack. The pair added 86 dazzling runs for the sixth wicket off just 39 balls in a sensational display of power hitting that took their side from being rank outsiders to strolling home with 13 balls in hand.

    Carey fell for 21 off 15 balls, with Turner pushing the winning runs through mid-wicket off the following delivery to complete the fifth-highest successful run chase in ODI history.

    ‘Really lost for words,’ said Player of the Match Turner, who had arrived at the ground not expecting to play. ‘Thought I’d be running drinks, but last minute to transition my mind from not playing to play… [after Marcus Stoinis had failed a fitness test] had a lot of opportunities to hit the ball, given the chance. Not every day you play this well as a team, was a great game, very fortunate to come out the right side.’

    Bumrah offered the best bowling return with figures of 3-63 (econ 7.13). The deciding fifth and final match in the series will be a day-night match at Delhi on Wednesday 13 March.


    Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Post by

    Simon Lewis