AUSTRALIA’S TOUR OF INDIA, 2019
Cricbuzz Staff •
Turner smashed 84 off just 43 to help Australia level series © AFP
If there was any doubt about what Ashton Turner could bring to the Australian ODI team, the right-hander served the perfect response. In a game that saw two batsmen make hundreds and two others make ninties, it was Turner’s knock that proved to be the most impactful as Australia completed their highest successful chase to win the fourth ODI by four wickets. Turner ended with 84 off just 43 balls, a knock that had five fours and six sixes.
Turner, who replaced the injured Marcus Stoinis for this game, came in with Australia in trouble, despite Peter Handscomb’s fine maiden hundred and Usman Khawaja’s composed 91. Chasing 359 to win, the required rate was always high, but Turner countered that with some amazing hitting. He took on all of India’s frontline bowlers, and sent the ball flying to all parts of the ground to give Australia a brilliant series-levelling victory in Mohali.
Australia’s start to the chase got off to a bad start when Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck in his very first over on return to have Aaron Finch out bowled for a duck. The situation worsened when Shaun Marsh was castled by a Jasprit Bumrah yorker when on 6. From 12/2, Handscomb and Khawaja fashioned Australia’s resurrection.
The pair put caution over risk, with singles and doubles taking precedence over boundaries. The gradual progress gave Kohli the chance to bowl his fifth bowler – Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav. The Aussie pair too used the chance to get themselves set. As the stand continued to grow, both Handcomb and Khawaja started to come into their own. Handcomb went after Jadhav, smashing him for 19 runs in the 33rd over as both batsmen moved into the nineties.
But against the run of play, Australia lost Khawaja. Bumrah struck with a well-directed bouncer to have the left-hander caught at fine leg for 91. Maxwell arrived with a bang, a four off his first and fourth deliveries. Handcomb at the other end went on to bring up his first ODI hundred. Australia had ensured they were not too far behind the asking rate, and with Maxwell looking in good touch, they would’ve fancied their chances.
Those chances took a big blow when Kuldeep trapped him in front, but Australia’s surprise package came in the form of Turner. Playing only his second ODI, Turner put on show his power and calmness to smash a rapid fifty.
The tall batsman used his reach to great effect to counter the spinners and when the pacers were back on, his power came to the fore. He also enjoyed a life when Pant missed a stumping when the right-hander was on 38. Turner took over after Handcomb fell to Chahal after making 117 off 105 balls.
Bhuvneshwar was smashed for 20 off his eighth over as Australia were left needing 42 from the last five. India had one final chance when Turner offered Jadhav and Dhawan easy chances in the 47th over, but both grassed them. India’s chances too evaporated with them.
Earlier in the day, Dhawan smashed his 16th ODI hundred, thus signalling a return to form after a run of not-so-impressive scores, as India amassed 358/9 having opted to bat first on a dream pitch for batsmen.
Dhawan had gone 17 ODIs without a hundred, but ensured he did not let this one slip. He hit rhythm early, helped by Pat Cummins bowling a few to his pads. He did not let that momentum slip over the course of his innings, regularly hitting boundaries and finding gaps on the big outfield. It allowed Rohit Sharma, with whom he shared a stand of 193 for the opening wicket, to feel his way into the game. Dhawan struck at over run a ball from almost the very beginning, while Rohit caught up soon after, breaking shackles with a six in the last over of the first powerplay.
From there on, the openers were in cruise control. Dhawan dominated the bowlers, while Rohit slowly moved himself into a place from where a big hundred looked almost inevitable. Against the run of play, however, he was out on 95.
Dhawan continued unperturbed. He brought up his hundred with a paddle off Zampa for four. The left-hander also allowed KL Rahul, in another middle order auction and one of four changes for the home team in this match, to play himself in. The right-hander was content rotating strike as Dhawan ran riot at the other end. He took Jason Behrendorff for two fours and a six to notch up his highest ever ODI score, before being out bowled by Pat Cummins for 143. His knock contained 18 fours and 3 sixes.
India reached 358 on the back of some fine hitting from Vijay Shankar, but Turner’s blitzkrieg ensured India ended up on the losing side.
Brief scores: India 358/9 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 143, Rohit Sharma 95; Pat Cummins 5-70) lost to Australia 359/6 in 47.5 overs (Peter Handscomb 117, Usman Khawaja 91, Ashton Turner 84*; Jasprit Bumrah 3-63) by four wickets.