Ranchi: George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell revived Australia after Mohammed Shami’s opening burst, but their dismissals in the batting Powerplay robbed the visitors of a 300-plus total for the first time in the series, albeit narrowly. Bailey and Maxwell added 153 in 22.4 overs to lift the score from 32 for 3 but after both fell in their nineties to Vinay Kumar, Australia’s lower order was able to add only 57 in the last ten overs.
Shami’s sharp first spell had challenged Australia for the first time in the series with the new ball. The attack, however, lacked the same intensity afterwards. India also put down five catches, and only a couple of them were tough takes. Bailey was put down first ball off Shami by Virat Kohli at third slip, and on 35 by R Ashwin off Vinay, both takeable chances. Maxwell was dropped on 44 by Yuvraj Singh off Jaydev Unadkat, a rather difficult diving opportunity at point, before MS Dhoni reprieved him on 69 behind the stumps off Suresh Raina.
Bailey went on to make his third half-century of the series and India were fortunate to see his back two short of a century, when he top-edged a Vinay long hop. Maxwell kicked on from the cameos he has been getting to inflict punishment on India with a 77-ball 92 before falling lbw.
Bailey and Maxwell hardly allowed the spinners to settle, and were also presented with regular long hops. India weren’t able to exert pressure at all on the duo, who turned the strike over consistently. Vinay delivered an entire opening over of gentle looseners, and Bailey drove and pulled him for three boundaries. Maxwell was given plenty of leg-side offerings to indulge in his quick-arm powerful swing. He countered Ashwin’s line from round the wicket, powering him for successive reverse-swept boundaries, the first of which went for six.
After India sent the duo back, Dhoni didn’t give the ball to any of his seamers, opting for spin for nine of the last ten overs before he brought back Shami for the last one. Australia ‘s lower order, tied down by Raina and Ravindra Jadeja, promptly took 12 off it, despite atleast three deliveries finding the blockhole.
Bowling at a testing length at pace and generating movement under some cloud cover, Shami had delivered an opening spell of 6-1-21-3. The lowest opening stand for Australia had been 68 so far this series. Shami sent back the openers by the sixth over, and also claimed Shane Watson. India’s decision to play a fresh new-ball pair in place of Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had paid off at the start. They had even managed to avoid leaking runs at the death, but Bailey and Maxwell had done considerable damage in the middle.
50 overs Australia 295 for 8 (Bailey 98, Maxwell 92, Shami 3-42) v India