Faulkner’s fireworks after a Dhoni ‘dhamaka’

James Faulkner exults as Adam Voges rushes to congratulate him. The duo took Australia to a stunning victory.-AKHILESH KUMAR

James Faulkner, who took 30 runs off an Ishant Sharma over, the 48th of the innings, turned the match on its head with a batting display that reflected the Australian spirit of old. Vijay Lokapally reports.

Shikhar Dhawan had talked of 300 runs being scored as a common trend in limited overs cricket in recent times. Not necessarily a winning score, the 300-plus target does give the bowlers the cushion to defend themselves on placid tracks. But not always, as we saw in Jaipur where India hunted down 360 to win in grand style, losing just the wicket of Dhawan.

The trend altered in Mohali. It was a lovely pitch that Daljit Singh had prepared. There was something for the bowlers and lot for the batsmen. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Adam Voges, James Faulkner and Virat Kohli demonstrated the art of making runs in different styles. Dhoni played an innings of character but Faulkner came up with the decisive performance that impacted the course and the result of the match.

Encouraged by the bounce, Mitchell Johnson had some of the Indian batsmen hopping and some deeply embarrassed by the mode of their dismissal, playing away from the body in a shocking display of poor technique and temperament. Later, at crucial stages, the Indians were clueless when Voges and Faulkner picked the bowlers and the areas to exploit in a thrilling chase that culminated in a victory for Australia with four wickets remaining and three balls to spare.

Dhoni took the defeat in his stride. “They are a very good side and also the fact that the timing of the series means dew plays a big role and one team will benefit. We benefitted in the last game; to some extent, we were in a position to win this game but at times it becomes a bit difficult for the bowlers to execute. I think, overall, what we have seen on wickets that are good for batting, the side that bowls slightly better in a few overs is the side that will win most of the games.”

M.S. Dhoni... a scintillating 139.-AKHILESH KUMAR

The skipper became the first Indian to hit an ODI century in Mohali and reconfirmed his status as the most exciting cricketer in modern times. It was a pity that Dhoni ended up on the losing side.

Australia backed itself to clinch the match. The pitch encouraged strokeplay and the Indians hardly helped their cause with some wayward bowling. Ishant Sharma was in a generous mood and Vinay Kumar did not look the part of an international attack. These two proved the weak and costly link and there was little threat to the Aussies when they launched a spirited assault through Bailey, Voges, Faulkner and Aaron Finch, who all contributed handsomely to fashion the victory.

Faulkner, who took 30 runs off an Ishant over, the 48th of the innings, turned the match on its head with a batting display that reflected the Australian spirit of old. But he was quick to give credit to Voges for his disciplined and motivating innings. “Yes, it was a very good innings from Vogesy, I suppose he struggled early in his innings but managed to bat all the way through and bat as deep as he did. He gave me the support when I was struggling and he batted exceptionally well with a real mature head,” said Faulkner of his partner.

Comparing the loss in Jaipur and the victory here, Faulkner said, “Obviously the first game of the series was a good win in Pune. I guess it was a kick in the guts in Jaipur to score 360 and have them chase it. It was disappointing for every member of the dressing room including the support staff and we just wanted to have a good game tonight.”

Faulkner, the Man of the Match, only highlighted the shortcomings that have been afflicting the Indian bowlers. His daring assault showed the likes of Ishant and Vinay Kumar in poor light. On a pitch that had bounce, the Indians came a cropper and it was an embarrassing experience in the middle for some of the Indian batsmen. For old timers in the stands it was the same old story of seeing the Indian batsmen falter against genuine pace.

THE SCORES

India v Australia, Third ODI, Mohali, October 19, 2013. Australia won by four wickets.

India: Rohit Sharma c Finch b Watson 11; S. Dhawan c Haddin b McKay 8; V. Kohli c Haddin b Maxwell 68; S. Raina c Watson b Johnson 17; Yuvraj Singh c Haddin b Johnson 0; M. Dhoni (not out) 139; R. Jadeja c Haddin b Johnson 2; R. Ashwin c Haddin b Johnson 28; B. Kumar c Bailey b Faulkner 10; R. Vinay Kumar (run out) 0; Ishant Sharma (not out) 0; Extras (lb-13, w-7) 20. Total (for nine wkts., in 50 overs) 303.

Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-37, 3-76, 4-76, 5-148, 6-154, 7-230, 8-267, 9-299.

Australia bowling: Johnson 10-1-46-4; McKay 10-0-49-1; Watson 8-0-74-1; Faulkner 10-0-65-1; Doherty 10-0-45-0; Voges 1-0-3-0; Maxwell 1-0-8-1.

Australia: P. Hughes c Dhoni b Vinay Kumar 22; A. Finch lbw b Ishant 38; S. Watson lbw b Jadeja 11; G. Bailey lbw b Vinay Kumar 43; A. Voges (not out) 76; G. Maxwell (run out) 3; B. Haddin c Jadeja b B. Kumar 24; J. Faulkner (not out) 64; Extras (lb-14, w-9) 23. Total (for six wkts., in 49.3 overs) 304.

Fall of wickets: 1-68, 2-82, 3-88, 4-171, 5-174, 6-213.

India bowling: B. Kumar 10-1-50-1; Vinay Kumar 8.3-0-50-2; Ishant 8-1-63-1; Jadeja 10-0-31-1; Yuvraj Singh 3-0-20-0; Ashwin 9-0-58-0; Kohli 1-0-18-0.