Mohali, March 10 (IANS) Australia rode a powerful batting effort to defeat India by four wickets in the fourth On-Day International (ODI) and level the five-match series at 2-2, here on Sunday.
Chasing a formidable target of 359 runs, Peter Handscomb’s maiden ODI century and half-centuries from Usman Khawaja and Ashton Turner took the visitors past the line with 13 balls to spare.
The Australians chase was off to a rocky start as Aaron Finch was bowled by Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumnar in the very first over.
Jasprit Bumrah dealt another blow when he sent back Shaun Marsh in the fourth over with an excellent fuller length delivery that uprooted the off-stump.
However, that was destined to be the only bit of celebration for the Indian players. The capacity crowd at the IS Bindra Stadium witnessed laying of the foundation for a successful chase by Khawaja and Handscomb with a 192-run stand in 178 balls.
Handscomb scored 117 runs off 105 deliveries, hitting eight boundaries and three sixes along the way. Khawaja’s 91 runs came off 99 balls and included seven hits to the fence.
Bumrah finally broke the partnership when Khawaja tried to pull a short pitched delivery just outside the off-stump only to see Kuldeep Yadav latch on to the top edge at fine leg.
Although the hosts claimed a couple of more wickets over the next eight overs, Turner smashed a quickfire half-century lower down the order to turn the match decisively in Australia’s favour.
The all-rounder remained unbeaten on a breezy 84 with five boundaries and six hits into the stands studding his 43-ball stay at the crease.
Bumrah was the only Indian bowler who could trouble the Australian batsmen with figures of 3/63 in his 8.5 overs.
Earlier, India rode scintillating knocks from openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to post a mammoth 358/9.
Both Dhawan (143 off 115) and Rohit (95 off 92) were in brilliant touch right from the start and also recorded the highest opening stand (193) for India against Australia. The duo hammered every visiting bowler before Rohit fell, five short of his hundred.
But Dhawan maintained his aggressiveness, taking every bowler to cleaners.
The Indian openers started cautiously before they accelerated the innings to race away to 55 runs in just 9.2 overs. The duo seemed brutal as most bowlers were hammered to every part of the park and lifted the team to 100 runs in 17.2 overs.
Continuing their sensible and destructive play, the duo took India near the 200-run mark before pacer Jhye Richardson came with a big breakthrough. He sent back a well-settled Rohit in the 31st over.
Rohit’s knock contained seven boundaries and two sixes.
Dhawan, however, continued attacking the Aussies as India crossed the 250-run mark in next six overs. Pat Cummins gave his side some respite as he bowled out Dhawan in the 38th over.
India lost skipper Virat Kohli (7 off 6) with the scorecard reading 266/3.
In the last 10 overs, stumper Rishabh Pant (36 off 24), Lokesh Rahul (26 off 31) and Vijay Shankar (26 off 15) made some valuable contributions before the lower order fell like a pack of cards. But by that time India was able to post a mammoth target.
For Australia, Cummins bagged five wickets, leaking 70 runs, while Richardson scalped three for 85 runs.
Australia: 359/6 in 47.5 overs (Peter Handscomb 117, Usman Khawaja 91, Ashton Turner 84 not out; Jasprit Bumrah 3/63) beat India: 358/9 (Shikhar Dhawan 143, Rohit Sharma 95; Pat Cummins 5/70) by four wickets.