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For the first time in this series Indian bowlers restricted Australia to a score of below 300 runs in Ranchi. India made two changes two their line-up bringing in Mohammed Sami and Jaydev Unadkat in place of Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Mohammed Shami, who is making a comebcak in ODIS, ran through the visitors’ top order. Bowling a trying line and length at pace and generating seam movement under some cloud cover, Shami returned with the figures of 8-1-42-3. Shami was unlucky not have a fourth wicket, as Virat Kohli put down the captain George Bailey first ball at third slip early on in the innings.
Bailey, in fact, was put down again on 35, by R Ashwin off the bowling of Vinay Kumar, hammered Indians all over enroute to brialliant 98 runs off just 94 balls. This knock was also his third half-century of the series. With Glenn Maxwell, who scored 92 runs off 77 balls, Bailey put up a 153 run partnership for 5th wicket. That partnership provided Australia ensured Australia’s recovery after losing 3 wickets for just 32 runs.
Mohammed Shami threw Australia their first challenge of the series against the new balls as he ran through the top order in Ranchi. Bowling a testing length at pace and generating movement under some cloud cover, Shami delivered an opening spell of 6-1-21-3. Shami could have added a fourth wicket, had Virat Kohli not put down the captain George Bailey first ball at third slip in the sixth over of the innings.
As it turned out, Bailey, put down again on 35, by R Ashwin off Vinay Kumar, had motored to his third half-century of the series by the halfway mark. Glenn Maxwell had also settled, and the fifty stand had recovered some ground from 32 for 3.
Earlier today, India won the toss and elected to bowl first with Dhoni hoping for movement under cloudy conditions. The lowest opening stand for Australia befor 4th ODI, in this series, was 68. Fifth ball of his opening over, Shami pitched the ball up, got it to straighten which and hit the top of Aaron Finch’s stumps as batsman was late with the shot. Earlier in the series Finch had been content to hang onto the back foot against the new balls off Bhuvneshwar and Ishant, but with Shami bowled much fuller and as a result caught Australian opener by surprise. Then in his third over, Shami got one to lift sharply from a good length, and surprised Phillip Hughes who could only snick it through to the wicketkeeper.
Shane Watson counter-attacked in typical fashion with a few aggressive boundaries. But Shami found just enough inswing off the last ball of his fourth over to go between bat and pad on an attempted drive and hit the stumps.
Adam Voges fell early to Ashwin as he missed a sweep, but Bailey was given chances by Indian fielders rode on his luck to make sure Australia kept picking runs at a fair clip. India’s other bowlers weren’t able to keep up the intensity of Shami’s spell. Vinay delivered was once again poor throughout bowling gentle looseners on regular intervals, as Bailey and Maxwell continued drive and pull him. Even Ashwin and Jadeja were not allowed to settled down, as Bailey and Maxwell kept turning the strike over and at one stage Australia look set to score beyond 300 but Indian bowlers were just about good enough to restrict them below 300.