Chahal-Dhoni-Jadhav Lead India to 2-1 ODI Series Win in Australia
- India clinch ODI series victory in Australia with seven-wicket win in series-decider at Melbourne.
- MS Dhoni (87*) and Kedar Jadhav (61*) see India home in 231-run chase after Yuzvendra Chahal’s record 6/42.
- This is India’s maiden bilateral ODI series win Down Under, to follow up on their first-ever Test series win in the country.
India have concluded what will be remembered as one of their finest tours of Australia with another first – Yuzvendra Chahal and MS Dhoni’s heroics have helped the team to their maiden bilateral ODI series win Down Under, sealed with a seven-wicket win in the deciding third ODI at Melbourne on Friday, 18 January.
Chahal, who was included in the Indian XI for the first time in the series, derailed the Australian batting lineup with figures of 6/42 – the best by a spinner in any ODI on Australian soil – as the hosts were bowled out for 230.
Dhoni then marshalled the chase with his third half century of the three-match contest finishing unbeaten on 87, and together with Kedar Jadhav (61*) took India over the line on a sluggish MCG track with four balls to spare.
Virat Kohli's men became the first country to return from Australia without losing a single series, having claimed a historic 2-1 triumph in the Tests and drawn the T20Is 1-1.
“Two set batsmen there who knew what to do and they got the job done. We’ve been here a long time, it’s been an amazing tour. We drew the T20 series, won the Test series and now the ODIs. If you had given me these results before the tour, I would have gladly taken it.”Virat Kohli
The Finisher Finishes, Again
Dhoni's unbeaten 87 off 114 balls was a testimony to his high quality match awareness as the street-smart Kedar Jadhav, whose 61 came off 57 balls, donned the role of finisher.
The former India skipper's role going into the business end of his illustrious career is that of an anchor, who takes the game deep, and he performed it to perfection, with a world class exhibition of running between the wickets in what is likely to have been his last match on Australian soil.
The 37-year-old signed off on Australia with three successive half-centuries – the fifth time he has achieved the distinction over his career, but the first time he’s done so in five years – and earned the Man-of-the-Series award for his return of 193 runs in the three matches.
Dhoni was lucky to be dropped on 0 and 74, but while they were disciplined, the Australian bowling never had the sting to unsettle the Indian batsmen despite skipper Virat Kohli (46) being dismissed with India still more than 100 runs away from their target.
Chasing 231, India got off to a slow start as well. Australia created some good pressure with the new ball, in particular Jhye Richardson (1/27) who tied down Rohit Sharma (9).
It worked, as the right-handed opener was caught at slip in the sixth over. Despite Kohli coming to the crease thereafter, India struggled in the first powerplay and only scored 26/1 in the first ten overs.
Kohli added 44 runs with Shikhar Dhawan (23) for the second wicket, but it was a slower partnership than usual thanks to some tight bowling and fielding by Australia in this passage of play.
The duo tried to cut loose, as Peter Handscomb dropped Kohli (on 10) at first slip off Billy Stanlake (0/49) in the 12th over. But things turned around for Australia when Dhawan lobbed a return catch to Marcus Stoinis in the 17th over.
While Kohli and Dhoni added 54 runs off 82 balls for the third wicket, it was an uncharacteristic stand with a couple of incidents of confusion that could have seen Kohli run out.
The Dhoni-Jadhav association (121 runs off 19.2) overs, too, took some time in getting going, as Dhoni nudged his way to his 70th ODI fifth off 74 balls.
But Jadhav calmed any and all nerves with two fours in the penultimate over off Peter Siddle (1/56), which had begun with India requiring 14 to win.
Chahal Charms on Return to XI
Earlier, Chahal picked up 6/42 as Australia were bowled out for 230 in 48.4 overs.
The 28-year-old matched Ajit Agarkar's figures from 2004 as he recorded the joint best-ever ODI figures on Australian soil.
In doing so, he also improved on his previous best of 5/22 against South Africa at Centurion in January 2018.
Chahal varied the pace of his deliveries and also used the deception in his flight to make life miserable for Australian batsmen.
For Australia, Peter Handscomb (58) scored a fighting half-century and took them to a respectable total after they were reduced to 161/6 at one stage.
Play was delayed by ten minutes because of rain, and there was a further 20-minute delay after the first two balls in the Australian innings before weather improved.
The hosts faltered under cloudy skies though as Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/28) and Mohammed Shami (2/47) bowled excellent opening spells.