SUNDAY TIMES WEB DESK: Opener Usman Khawaja’s maiden one-day international century and incisive bowling helped Australia outplay India by 32 runs to stay alive in the five-match series on Friday.
Adam Zampa led the bowling charge with three wickets including the prized scalp of India captain Virat Kohli, for 123, to help dismiss the hosts for 281 in 48.2 overs while chasing 314 in Ranchi. India lead the series 2-1.
Fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson also took three wickets each and combined to wipe off the Indian tail after Kohli’s second successive ton gave the tourists a scare.
Kohli, who hit a match-winning 116 in the second ODI, smashed 16 fours and a six during his 95-ball knock before being bowled off Zampa’s leg-spin googly.
For Australia, Khawaja, who made 104, and skipper Aaron Finch, who hit 93, put on a 193-run opening stand to guide their team to 313 for five after being put in to bat.
“It was a pretty good performance. To get 300 on that wicket was very good. It was nice and especially in these conditions,” Finch said after the win.
“I have been working really hard and have always had the faith I would get runs. Usman played a fantastic knock, Jhye was also impressive with the ball,” he added.
Finch, whose last significant one-day score was a 100 in England in June 2018, struck form with his 19th ODI 50 but fell short of the three-figure mark after being trapped lbw off Kuldeep Yadav, who took three wickets.
His 99-ball knock was laced with 10 fours and 3 sixes.
The left-handed Khawaja, who hit 11 fours and a six in his 113-ball knock, kept up the pace during a 46-run second-wicket stand with the in-form Glenn Maxwell, who made 47.