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by Sanchit Gupta

The afternoon started with Australia winning the toss for the third straight time this series but the decision was different this time,this time they invited India to bat first.Both teams were once again unchanged with Australia deciding to give their bowlers a chance on a greener Mohali track, while India gave yet another reprieve to Ishant Sharma who was expected to get something from this green wicket. R Ashwin, who was also under fire, incidentally had the second best economy rate for either team in the last game, despite all the flak he took in the press.

Shikhar Dhawan looked to get off to another rollicking start as he cracked two boundaries off Clint McKay's first over, but was caught behined on the final ball of it. It was a good thing from an Australian point of view that Dhawan walked as the Umpire looked clueless out there in the middle.India then hit a bit of a slump losing 4 wickets to short pitched bowling as the batsmen failed to get on top of the deliveries because of the extra bounce on offer at Mohali due to the green track. Rohit Sharma (11) and Suresh Raina (17) both looked good before falling to Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson respectively. Johnson ran through the middle order, getting rid of Yuvraj Singh for a first ball duck and then Ravindra Jadeja for 2. Mid Way,Virat Kohli (68) and MS Dhoni rebuilt the innings, adding 72 for the 5th wicket before Kohli fell in Glenn Maxwell's only over. The Indian skipper found a handy partner in R Ashwin (28), and the duo added another 76 runs for the 7th wicket before Dhoni decided to take charge of the proceedings and hit the bowling in every part of the ground scoring 139 of just 121 balls with 12 fours and 5 massive sixes.Australia looked like keeping India to about 250, but skipper George Bailey, who seemed to do everything else right till that point, dropped a skier to hand Dhoni a reprieve. It proved to be a big miss and cost Australia 36 runs in the last 2 overs as India sneaked past 300.

Australia's response with the bat was once again positive with Aaron Finch (38) and Phil Hughes (22) adding 68 for the opening wicket before the latter fell caught behind to Vinay Kumar sccumbing to pressure built up by a maiden over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Ishant Sharma bowled a good first spell and in conjunction with Jadeja squeezed Australia's run rate. Wickets followed with Sharma getting Finch leg before while Jadeja got Shane Watson (11) in identical fashion. George Bailey (43) and Adam Voges (78*) came in with the score reading 88-3 and added 83 for the fourth wicket to keep Australia in the hunt. Bailey became the third leg before victim of the innings and was shortly followed by Glen Maxwell who was run out for 3. Brad Haddin came out and upped the tempo, smashing 24 of just 16 balls before finding the man in the deep off the bowling of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and at 213-6 in the 42nd over, the game looked very much in India's favour. Voges and Faulkner built together a steady partnership, but the home side were still very much in the driver's seat with Australia needing 44 to win from the last 3 overs when the impossible happened. Faulkner and smashed the lanky fast bowler,Ishant Sharma for 30 runs - including 4 sixes to swing the match back in Australia's favour, and the visitors made the series scoreline 2-1 by sneaking over the finish line with 3 balls to spare.

Both teams will now move to Ranchi,Dhoni's hometown for the 4th ODI with India desperately needing a win to bring the series back to level.


 





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