Zampa and Agar spin it Australia’s way in decider

Triumphant: The Aussies kept their nerves to win the match and clinch the three-match ODI series 2-1.

Triumphant: The Aussies kept their nerves to win the match and clinch the three-match ODI series 2-1.

Adam Zampa (four for 45) spun Australia to a 21-run win and a memorable 2-1 series triumph over India at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday. It was the first series defeat for the Men in Blue in ODIs at home in four years after Australia’s 3-2 win in 2019.

Electing to bat in the third and final ODI, Australia made 269 in 49 overs, thanks to valuable contributions from most of its batters though not even one went on to score a half-century.

In reply, the Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill began well with a 65-run stand. Gill was particularly severe on left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc, hitting him for three boundaries and a six over midwicket.

Australia found the breakthrough when Rohit pulled Sean Abbott straight to the square-leg fielder before Adam Zampa successfully reviewed a leg-before decision against Shubman Gill. Virat Kohli (54) and K.L. Rahul, who batted at No. 4, kept the chase on track. While the former was fluent from the start, the latter took a while to get going. Rahul needed 44 balls to find his first boundary and just as he seemed to be switching gears, he hit Zampa straight to long-on.

On a pitch that offered grip and turn, Zampa and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar had the Aussies in the game. Bowling his final over, Agar had Kohli caught at long-off and bowled Suryakumar Yadav with a quicker one off the next ball. It was Suryakumar’s third golden duck of the series. Hardik Pandya’s run-a-ball 40 raised hopes but he perished trying to take on Zampa in his ninth over. The leggie sealed the issue when he accounted for Ravindra Jadeja in his final over.

Earlier, the Australia openers Mitchell Marsh (47) and Travis Head went after Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, finding boundaries at will. Marsh continued from where he left off in Visakhapatnam, hitting Siraj for two boundaries before smashing Shami for a six over midwicket.

With the Aussies motoring along at 61 without loss in the PowerPlay, Hardik struck. He sent back Head and skipper Steve Smith before forcing Marsh to playing on as the visitors slumped to 85 for three in the 15th over.

Kuldeep Yadav, too, was impressive as he got the ball to turn off the surface. After removing David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne, Kuldeep bowled a well-set Alex Carey (38) with a ripper that pitched on leg and spun past the left-hander. Marcus Stoinis and Sean Abbott’s cameos helped Australia recover from 203 for seven, the last four batters adding 63. That proved proved crucial in the end.

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