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Thunder Down Under! India complete T20 series sweep against Australia

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:32 IST

Following the ODI debacle, the Indian cricket team signed off their tour down under with a 3-0 series whitewash against Australia after a seven-wicket win in the third and final T20 International at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on 31 January.

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The last-ball win also propelled India, who were placed down at no. 8 before the start of the series, to the number 1 spot in the ICC T20 rankings. Virat Kohli (50) and Rohit Sharma (52) were at it again as the duo slammed aggressive fifties to keep India in the hunt.

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Suresh Raina, who remained unbeaten at 49, played a belter of an innings to get India over the line alongside Yuvraj Singh (15*) who initially struggled to get going under pressure. The duo added 53 runs for the fourth wicket as India inflicted the third consecutive loss on the hosts in the series.

Chasing an imposing total of 197 runs, India got off to a steady start with Shikhar Dhawan (26) and Sharma providing a 46-run opening stand to the visitors. Dhawan's dismissal off Shane Watson in the fourth over brought Kohli out in the middle to partner Sharma.

The pair of Kohli and Sharma pulverised the Oz bowlers and added 78 runs for the second wicket to lead India's batting charge. But, Cameron Boyce broke the partnership for Australia after getting rid of a dangerous-looking Sharma in the 13th over.

Two overs later, Kohli was undone by Boyce as Australia snuffed their way back into the match. With 51 runs still to achieve off 30 balls, India got into a spot of bother as Yuvraj struggled to score runs off the opposition bowlers. To the utter dismay of the Indian fans, the Punjab southpaw could only manage five runs off his first nine deliveries.

But, the middle-order batsman made a sensational comeback in the final over, belting Andrew Tye for a four and then a six on the first two deliveries. The quick boundaries made India favourites as Raina scored a four on the last delivery to seal an emphatic win for the visitors.

Kohli was adjudged the Man of the Series for his swashbuckling innings, while Australia's stand-in captain Watson was ruled the Man of the Match for his unbeaten innings of 124 runs earlier in the game.

Watson, who began attacking the Indian bowlers right from the start, notched up his maiden T20I hundred in a mere 60 balls. He struck a total of 10 fours and six sixes in his 71-ball swashbuckling innings.

The 34-year-old became the first Australian ever to score a hundred in each of the formats of international cricket. He is also only the second Australian behind Aaron Finch and the first player ever to score a century in the shortest version of the game.

Watson, who was dropped by Kohli on 56, now holds the second-highest individual score in T20Is. Finch, who recently suffered a hamstring injury, holds the record for the highest individual score in T20Is following his breezy 156 against England in 2013.

Deciding to bat first, Australia got off to a crisp start until debutant Usman Khawaja (14) was dismissed by Ashish Nehra in the third over. Watson and Shaun Marsh (9) added 53 runs for the second wicket. However, the introduction of spin saw the hosts losing two quick wickets in Marsh and Glenn Maxwell (3).

BBL sensation Travis Head (26) gave adequate support to his captain as the duo added 93 runs for the fourth wicket. Chris Lynn also added a quickfire 13 but it was Watson who bludgeoned the Indian bowlers to take the Australians close to 200.

The much-talked spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin proved a tad too expensive for India as they conceded 77 runs in eight overs between them. Ashish Nehra was the pick of the Indian bowlers with his spell of 1/32 in four overs.

First published: 31 January 2016, 6:22 IST