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Saturday , February 27 2021

Watson ton in vain as India complete 3-0 T20 whitewash – Combined batting help tourist pull off thrilling last-ball victory

Indian Cricket team celebrate winning the T20 International cricket series against Australia in Sydney, Australia, on Jan 31. (AP)
Indian Cricket team celebrate winning the T20 International cricket series against Australia in Sydney, Australia, on Jan 31. (AP)

SYDNEY, Jan 31, (AP): Australia captain Shane Watson struck the second-highest Twenty20 international score ever but his 124 not out went in vain as a combined batting effort helped India pull off a thrilling last-ball victory to complete a 3-0 whitewash on Sunday.

Opener Rohit Sharma (52), Virat Kohli (50) and Suresh Raina (49 not out) helped India reach 200-3 in reply to Australia’s 197-5.

Rohit and Kohli added 78 runs for the second wicket to keep India in the hunt and then Raina produced a composed but attacking 25-ball knock to take the team home in the company of fellow left-hander Yuvraj Singh (15 not out).

India needed 17 off the last over bowled by Andrew Tye which was achieved in style as Yuvraj struck a four and a six off the first two deliveries.

Raina completed the win with a four on the off side.

Rohit scored 52 off 38 balls with one six and five fours before he was caught by Watson at mid-wicket off legspinner Cameron Boyce.

Boyce almost got another wicket in the same over but wicketkeeper Cameron Bancroft failed to collect the ball when Raina was yet to score.

The legspinner also dismissed Kohli for a 36-ball 50, his third consecutive half-century in the series.

“A lot of credit (goes) to the bowlers,” India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. “The batsmen have taken it up a notch but it is the bowlers who have done their job better.  There might be one or two changes based on the conditions in the World T20, but this is roughly what the side will look like.”

Earlier, Watson, who led after first-choice captain Aaron Finch was ruled out due to a hamstring injury, smashed six sixes and 10 fours off 71 deliveries.

Finch holds the record for the highest individual T20 score of 156, against England at Southampton in 2013.

Watson, who was dropped by Kohli off medium-pacer Hardik Pandya on 56, became only the third captain to score a century in Twenty20 internationals and it was also the highest ever score by a skipper in the format.

Watson added 53 runs for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh (nine) and 93 for the fourth with Travis Head (26).

Watson was quick to punish anything short from the pace bowlers and anything pitched up by the spinners, clobbering the ball with ease on the leg side.

He struck three sixes off Ravindra Jadeja, whom he hit for 19 runs off five deliveries in the left-arm spinner’s last over.

“They (India) certainly are special,” Watson said. “We put up the big score but couldn’t get ourselves over the line.”

Australia, which tried a number of players in this series while sending many frontline players to New Zealand in preparation for upcoming Tests, handed T20 debuts to top-order batsman Usman Khawaja and Bancroft.

India won the first game at Adelaide by 37 runs and the second at Melbourne by 27 runs.

Australia vs India T20 Scoreboard

SYDNEY, Jan 31, (AFP): Scoreboard from the third Twenty20 between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday:
U. Khawaja c Dhoni b Nehra 14
S. Watson not out 124
S. Marsh b Ashwin 9
G. Maxwell c Raina b Singh 3
T. Head b Jadeja 26
C. Lynn c Jadeja b Bumrah 13
C. Bancroft not out 0
Extras (lb2, w4, nb2) 8
Total (5 wickets: 20 overs) 197
Fall of wicket: 1-16 (Khawaja), 2-69 (Marsh), 3-75 (Maxwell), 4-168 (Head), 5-193 (Lynn)
Did not bat: A. Tye, C. Boyce, S. Boland, S. Tait
Bowling: Nehra 4-0-32-1, Bumrah 4-0-43-1 (2nb), Ashwin 4-0-36-1 (1w), Jadeja 4-0-41-1, Singh 2-0-19-1, Pandya 2-0-24-0 (3w)
R. Sharma c Watson b Boyce 52
S. Dhawan c Bancroft b Watson 26
V. Kohli b Boyce 50
S. Raina not out 49
Y. Singh not out 15
Extras (b1, w7) 8
Total (three wickets: 20 overs) 200
Fall of wicket: 1-46 (Dhawan), 2-124 (Sharma), 3-147 (Kohli)
Did not bat: M.S. Dhoni, H. Pandya, R. Jadeja, R. Ashwin, J. Bumrah, A. Nehra
Bowling: Tait 4-0-46-0 (4w), Boland 3-0-34-0 (2w), Watson 4-0-30-1 (1w), Tye 4-0-51-0, Boyce 4-0-28-2, Maxwell 1-0-10-0
Toss: Australia
Result: India won by seven wickets
India won series 3-0
Man of the match: S. Watson (Aus)
Umpires: Simon Fry (AUS), John Ward (AUS)

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