Australias score of 272 was more than challenging for India as the visitors won the deciding game of the five-match series by 35 runs on a slow and low Ferozeshah Kotla wicket on Wednesday to clinch the series 3-2.
The series win comes not just at the right time for theAussies as the World Cup is round the corner, but is also their first seriesvictory in India in six years.
If Usman Khawaja was thestar of the Australia innings with a brilliant century, Adam Zampa stole theshow in the India innings with figures of 3/46 from his 10 overs.
With no dew to help Indiatackle the spin of Zampa, the home team was once again found wanting with theleg-spinner picking the wickets of Rohit Sharma (56), Vijay Shankar (16) andRavindra Jadeja (0) to completely derail the innings. The Indian innings foldedup for 237.
Chasing 273 to win the game and with it the series, Indiagot off to a terrible start with Pat Cummins sending back Shikhar Dhawan (12)in the fifth over of the innings. With the score on 15/1, Virat Kohli joinedRohit at the crease. The duo tried to settle the early nerves and all lookedfine till Marcus Stoinis dismissed Kohli (20) against the run of play. RishabhPant was promoted to the number four position, and Nathan Lyon ensured thatthis experiment also failed for India as he walked back for 16, caught at firstslip by Ashton Turner.
New number 5 Shankar too flattered to deceive and when Rohit(given a life on 51 and 53 off Zampa's bowling) was stumped by Alex Carey inthe 27th over, it looked like the start of the end of the India chase.
But Kedar Jadhav (44) andBhuvneshwar Kumar (46) had other plans as they looked to play smart cricket andput on 91 runs off 103 balls. With 96 needed off the last 10, they mixedcaution with aggression and stretched the game towards the death.
Just when it looked like India would scamper home,Bhuvneshwar was sent back by Cummins. With Kedar dismissed off the first ballof the very next over by Richardson, it was curtains.
Earlier, skipper Aaron Finch had no hesitation in battingfirst on a Kotla wicket that had a tinge of green, which was more to ensuretrue bounce than anything else. And the opening stand of 76 between him andKhawaja justified his decision. In fact, they started cautiously and scoredjust 52 in the first ten overs. But more importantly, they had all theirwickets in the bag.
India finally broke throughin the 15th over of the innings when Ravindra Jadeja struck. It was a typicalJadeja ball which pitched in line and turned just enough to beat Finch (27).The score read 76/1 and the packed Kotla crowd erupted in joy.
But the joy was to be shortlived as Handscomb and Khawaja combined beautifully to keep the Indian bowlersat bay. While skipper Virat Kohli tried all options he had in his arsenal, butwas thwarted by the duo who looked to start from where they left in the lastgame in Mohali.
It finally took a brilliant move from Kohli to send Khawaja (106) back to the hut, but not before he had completed his second century of the series. Getting Bhuvneshwar Kumar to use his variations, Kohli waited at short cover for Khawaja to play an uppish drive. The opener did just that off the last ball of the 33rd over for the skipper to grab an easy catch. The 99-run partnership was finally broken.