SYDNEY, Dec 8: Australian bowlers held their nerves to come up trumps against the genius of Virat Kohli, stalling an Indian clean-sweep with a 12-run victory in the third and final T20 International here on Tuesday. While India won the shortest format 2-1, it was overall an even result for the two teams which won three white-ball games each. Tuesday�s loss ended the visitors� 10-match winning streak in the format.
Kohli got as many as four reprieves and cashed in well enough to smash his way to 85 off 61 balls but India could only reach as far as 174/7 in their pursuit of 187 in 20 overs. It was a slash drive off Andrew Tye in the penultimate over which was plucked inches off the ground by Daniel Sams, who compensated for a forgettable day with the ball.
An over before that Hardik Pandya�s swagger was checked by Adam Zampa (1/21 in 3 overs). Zampa�s leg-break turned enough to force the �Baroda Bomber� to hit one against the turn and be caught at short third-man.
Pandya was deservedly adjudged player of the series for his heroics with the bat. Once Pandya was gone, there was too much pressure on Kohli and this was one rare occasion when he failed to take the team home.
While he hit four fours and three sixes, Kohli did lead a charmed life as Steve Smith missed a dolly at deep mid-wicket fence when he gave Maxwell the charge.
Then Sean Abbott failed to get his hands on a tough return catch while another slipped through Tye�s palms. During the fag end, Matthew Wade missed an easy stumping.
The Indian captain scored his third half-century of the tour and an effortless six off Abbott after the completion of the milestone gave much-needed relief to the Indian dug-out. This was after man of the match Mitchell Swepson�s (3/23) innocuous leg-breaks reduced them to 100 for 4.
Swepson would be the first to admit that he was lucky to dismiss Shikhar Dhawan (28 off 21 balls) with a half-tracker and ever unreliable Sanju Samson (10) with a low full-toss.
Australia: Matthew Wade lbw b Thakur 80, Aaron Finch c Hardik Pandya b Washington Sundar 0, Steven Smith b Washington Sundar 24, Glenn Maxwell b T Natarajan 54, Moises Henriques not out 5, D�Arcy Short run out (sub Manish Pandey/Rahul) 7, Daniel Sams not out 4. Extras: (LB-1, W-10, NB-1) 12. Total: (For 5 wickets in 20 overs) 186. Fall of wickets: 14-1, 79-2, 169-3, 175-4, 182-5. Bowling: Deepak Chahar 4-0-34-0, Washington Sundar 4-0-34-2, T Natarajan 4-0-33-1, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-0-41-0, Shardul Thakur 4-0-43-1.
India: KL Rahul c Steven Smith b Maxwell 0, Shikhar Dhawan c Daniel Sams b Swepson 28, Virat Kohli c Daniel Sams b Andrew Tye 85, Sanju Samson c Steven Smith b Swepson 10, Shreyas Iyer lbw b Swepson 0, Hardik Pandya c Finch b Zampa 20, Washington Sundar c Andrew Tye b Abbott 7, Shardul Thakur not out 17, Deepak Chahar not out 0. Extras: (B-1, W-6) 7. Total: (For 7 wickets in 20 overs) 174. Fall of wickets: 0-1, 74-2, 97-3, 100-4, 144-5, 151-6, 164-7. Bowling: Glenn Maxwell 3-0-20-1, Sean Abbott 4-0-49-1, Daniel Sams 2-0-29-0, Andrew Tye 4-0-31-1, Mitchell Swepson 4-0-23-3, Adam Zampa 3-0-21-1. � PTI