India suffered a stunning batting collapse to lose the fourth ODI against Australia in Canberra on Wednesday. Down 3-0 in the five-match series, India looked good to pull one back after Shikhar Dhawan (126) and Virat Kohli (106) slammed superb centuries, but only just. Australia (348 for eight) won by 25 runs with four balls to spare. It was their 19th win on-the-trot playing at home.
India lost five wickets within 17 runs to hand Australia the advantage in a match where batsmen dominated once again. Dhawan and Kohli prospered for a 212-run stand for the second wicket after Rohit Sharma (41 off 25 balls) gave India a flying start. India were always ahead of the Australians in a record run chase at the Manuka Oval till disaster struck.
The exit of Dhawan opened the floodgates as Australia's quick bowlers John Hastings (2/50) and Kane Richardson (5/68) outfoxed the rampaging Indian batsmen with fine control of pace with an old ball and on an easy-paced deck. Out-of-form skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni edged to the keeper for zero and Gurkeerat Singh Mann (5) gifted his wicket to trigger a procession of wickets.
Ajinkya Rahane (2), who came in to bat despite a hand injury, and rookie Rishi Dhawan (9) failed to produce the goods under pressure as Ravindra Jadeja (24 off 27 balls) was left the lone man standing. It was a disappointing ending for the Indian team that looked good to score a morale-boosting victory ahead of the Twenty20 series starting January 26.
FINCH, WARNER IN
Earlier, Aaron Finch struck his seventh hundred in a blistering opening partnership of 187 with David Warner to power Australia to 348 for eight wickets.
Finch smashed a run-a-ball 107 while Warner fell on 93 from 92 deliveries as the hosts continued to make merry against India's toothless bowling attack after winning the toss and opting to bat first.
Australia had chased down each Indian target to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series and the tourists battered bowlers did little better after finally getting the chance to bowl first.
Warner, who missed the last two matches due to the birth of his second child, started off with a maiden against Umesh Yadav but soon hit his stride with three fours in an over against seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Yadav also conceded three boundaries in the next over against the diminutive left-hander as Australia raced to 50 in the seventh over.
Finch was equally destructive and a fierce straight drive from the right-hander off fast bowler Ishant Sharma hit umpire Richard Kettleborough on the shin, forcing the official from the field.
The 29-year-old Finch, who leads Australia in the Twenty20 format, reached his hundred with a single to mid-wicket off Yadav and celebrated the mark with a leap of joy.
He later mistimed a pull against the same bowler to be dismissed eight overs after Warner played Ishant on to his stumps while attempting a slog over mid-wicket.
SMITH AND MARSH ADD MUSCLE TO INNINGS
Australia captain Steven Smith (51) and Mitchell Marsh (33), who was promoted to number three, ensured the team maintained the momentum with a 67-run stand for the third wicket.
Glenn Maxwell, whose knock of 96 guided Australia to a win in the third ODI in Melbourne, put the finishing touches with 41 off 20 deliveries. Maxwell's last 18 runs coming off Ishant's final over of the innings before the bowler dismissed him with the last ball of the innings.
Ishant was the most successful of the Indian bowler with four wickets for 77 runs, while Yadav picked up three for 67.