Two bad, two good as Hardik Pandya's all-round show leads India to series victory over Australia

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A wicket an a half-century from Pandya led India to a series victory.

After suffering the ignominy of two convincing defeats in the first two ODIs, Australia were looking to bounce back with a victory to stay alive in the series when they took on India in the third match at Indore.

After winning the toss and batting first, Steve Smith’s men put up 293-6 in their 50 overs after returning opener Aaron Finch’s eight one-day ton.

India managed to chase down Australia’s total with 13 balls to spare in the end to claim the series and kept their perfect-record at the Holkar stadium alive. This was India’s fifth win in as many 50-over games played at the venue.

The visitors will feel they were 50 runs short of a winning total after the loss and the inability of the middle-order to capitalise on the strong start will definitely rankle them.

On a day where there once again were some outstanding individual performances, we look at the two good and two bad displays which stood out.

The Good

Aaron Finch scores eighth ODI return on return from injury-layoff

After Finch aggravated a calf-strain prior to the series, debutant Hilton Cartwright was tasked with opening the Aussie innings with David Warner in the first two matches.

Cartwright was all at sea in his first two international innings scoring a combined total of two runs. The lack of a strong opening partnership has hindered Australia greatly in the series so far and therefore the availability of Finch for Sunday’s encounter was a welcome boost.

Finch, circumspect in the initial stages of his innings, grew into the game as his opening stand with Warner developed.

The right-handed batsman let loose after his partner’s dismissal as he put on a 154-run stand along with the skipper. An eighth ODI hundred and his second against India was just reward for Finch’s belligerence as his innings provided Australia with the upper hand.

Too bad for Finch though that the batsmen to follow could not make the most of the strong foundation laid by him. Nevertheless his 124-run knock was the standout batting performance of the day.

Hardik Pandya’s all-round show wins it for India

India’s new found all-round sensation has been on a roll ever since his introduction to international cricket. He gave further credence to the theory that he could end up as a genuine seaming all-rounder for India in the long-term after his performance on Sunday.

With the ball, Pandya got the crucial breakthrough of Warner after the Aussie openers had put up a threatening 70-run stand. The 23-year-old bowled a beautiful off-cutter which beat the bat of a Warner to take the top of middle-stump.

With the bat, Pandya showed once again how effective his brute slogging in the shorter-format as he brought up his fourth ODI half-century.

With India in a spot of bother after the dismissals of Kohli and Kedar Jhadav in quick-succession, the right-hander kept his cool as he punished any poor delivery by the Aussie bowlers ruthlessly.

Pandya smacked five sixes and four boundaries in his 72-ball 78 and took India within the fringes of victory before being dismissed by Pat Cummins towards the end.

Promoted to number four in the batting-order for Sunday’s victory, Pandya’s stock continues to rise as he put up a destructive but mature display to lead India to a series win.

The bad

Glenn Maxwell throws his wicket away yet again

The powers of maverick Aussie batsman Maxwell are well known. The 28-year-old can change the complexion of any match in an instant with his swashbuckling hitting. However, the tendency of Maxwell to throw it away in crucial situations is well-known too.

In the series so far, Maxwell has fallen victim to Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal both times in his two innings. His dismissal at Kolkata came after he advanced down the track the spinner only to be stumped by MS Dhoni.

With Finch laying a solid platform for the Australian to take control, much was expected of Maxwell on a flat and dry Indore pitch.

In the end his innings turned out to be a damp squib once again after he was dismissed in similar fashion to his Kolkata dismissal.

Maxwell shuffled across his stumps and advanced down the track looking to deposit Chahal straight down the wicket. However, the wily bowler deliberately pushed the ball wide of the batsman and Dhoni’s lightning-quick hands did the rest.

A quick-fire Maxwell special could have well put Australia beyond India’s reach but his soft dismissal put on more pressure on the middle-order as the visitors collected only 59 runs in the final 10 overs.

Kedar Jadhav falls to another soft-dismissal

Questions still remain about India’s middle-order even though the hosts have been in fine-form results wise.

With neither KL Rahul nor Manish Pandey yet to consolidate their positions order, the uncertainty over the number four and number five positions still remains with Jadhav not firing on all cylinders either.

Jadhav has managed starts in both the innings so far in the series so far with scores of 40 and 24. However, failure to convert these starts into big ones has been his undoing.

Jadhav has given his wickets away casually after strong starts.

Jadhav has given his wickets away casually after strong starts.

On Sunday, he failed to even get a start as he chopped on a Kane Richardson which was too straight to cut onto his stumps.

The fall of his wicket, immediately after Kohli’s, meant that Australia had clawed themselves back into the game before Pandya took it away again towards the end.

The fact that Jadhav’s dismissals have been rather soft in all the three innings so far in the series is what will bug the Indian team management the most.

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