Peter Handscomb’s brilliant maiden ton and his 192-run stand for the third wicket with Usman Khawaja, who blasted 91 had kept Australia in the hunt in their pursuit of 359 against India at the PCA stadium in Mohali. After the dismissal of Handscomb for 117, it seemed the game was up for India but Ashton Turner put on one of the great performances ever seen by an Australian batsmen on Indian shores as his mind-numbing 84 off 43 balls helped Australia chase down 359 and win by four wickets with 13 balls to spare to square the five-match series 2-2 on Sunday. The win prolonged India’s pain in Mohali, where they have not won an ODI against Australia since 1996. This was also the highest successful chase by a visiting team in ODIs in India ever.
When Handscomb had fallen for 117, Australia still needed 78 off 48 balls and India still had six overs in the bank from Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuveshwar Kumar, their best death-overs bowlers. Turner started the onslaught by clubbing Yuzvendra Chahal for a six over long on and that was the start of something special. Turner found the boundary on a regular basis and he was well-assisted by Alex Carey. The game changed in the 45th over when Turner launched Bhuvneshwar for two sixes and a four as he leaked 20 runs in the over. Bumrah was the next to feel the onslaught as he conceded 16 runs. Turner benefited from two drops in the next over bowled by Bhuvneshwar with Kedar Jadhav and Shikhar Dhawan dropping catches. Although Carey fell in the 48th over, Turner fittingly hit the winning runs as Australia pulled off one of the greatest wins for a long time.
Khawaja, Handscomb fight
Chasing 359, Australia made a disastrous start when Aaron Finch fell to Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0) for the third time. In Australia, Finch was troubled by the inswinger and here again, he was undone by a ball that cut back in sharply off the deck. Shaun Marsh (3) was the next to go as he failed to dig out a Jasprit Bumrah yorker. From that point on, Khawaja and Handscomb staged a partnership which put Australia in the hunt to chase the total down.
Khawaja who broke the shackles by clobbering two fours off Bumrah in the eighth over and a nicely flicked four to deep midwicket off Bhuvneshwar. The partnership grew and both batsmen tackled the spinners incredibly well. Handscomb, who is known to play spin well, tackled Kuldeep and Kedar Jadhav in a positive manner as the scoring rate remained consistent. hawaja reached his seventh fifty off 52 balls and Handscomb followed suit a couple of overs later. The partnership went past 100 and Australia were truly in the contest. Both Khawaja and Handscomb increased their scoring rate and the right-hander signaled his intentions by clubbing Yuzvendra Chahal for a big six over deep midwicket. Handscomb neared his century by clobbering Jadhav for two straight sixes down the ground and reached 99 with a carved boundary through point as the offspinner leaked 19 runs in the over.
India struck immediately after the second drinks break when Khawaja top-edged a short ball from Bumrah to be caught at backward square leg by Kuldeep running in from fine leg. After a couple of dot balls, Handscomb reached the landmark by tapping Bhuvneshwar to the off side for a quick single. Glenn Maxwell started off with some big hits but once he fell to Kuldeep and the decision was not overturned, India sensed an opening. When Handscomb fell, India were firmly in the hunt but Turner kept them in the hunt. There was a moment of controversy when umpire Anil Chaudhary signaled a wide when Turner had edged it but the umpire signaled a wide. This upset the momentum of the Indian team and Turner capitalized, brutalising the Indian attack and ensuring Shikhar Dhawan’s brilliant 16th century went in vain.
Dhawan turns the clock back
India chose to bat and Dhawan who got going with a boundary to the deep backward square leg fence and he targeted Pat Cummins in the fifth over by slamming him for two boundaries. Dhawan continued to deal in boundaries and scored at a strike rate of over 100. The Delhi opener then went after Jason Behrendorff by hitting him for a couple of boundaries and he reached his 28th fifty in style by drilling Jhye Richardson down the ground to notch up an important milestone.
Rohit referred to play second fiddle and he broke the shackles by clobbering Jason Behrendorff straight down the ground over long on for a massive six. The Mumbai right-hander chose to rotate the strike and he made good progress.
At the other end, Dhawan neared a century by clubbing Glenn Maxwell over deep midwicket for a big six while Rohit broke MS Dhoni’s record of most sixes by an Indian player by launching Adam Zampa for his second six. Both players stitched a record opening stand in Mohali, going past the mark of 155 which was set by Bryan Young and Nathan Astle in the 1997 ODI. This was the duo’s sixth 150-plus opening stand. Both Dhawan and Rohit got closer to their centuries by pulling Jhye Richardson to the fine leg and deep midwicket fence but in the quest for glory, Rohit creamed the pull shot straight to the fielder to fall for 95. The left-handed Dhawan tough, continued on his merry ways and he notched up his milestone by paddle sweeping Adam Zampa to the fine leg fence.
After reaching the century, Dhawan upped the ante and went past 10,000 List A runs. The left-hander also went past his highest individual score of 137 which he achieved against South Africa in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup clash in Melbourne. However, Dhawan fell for 143 in the quest for quick runs. Australia managed to claw back a touch by taking wickets at regular intervals. Cummins finished with five wickets but India still managed 91 runs in the last 10 overs. In the end, it still was not enough.