A massive partnership of 148 for the 4th wicket between Yuvraj Singh and Skipper MS Dhoni steered India to a comprehensive victory in the third ODI at Delhi. The pair came together at a score of 53 for 3 with the Aussies all over the top of India with the ball turning, reverse swinging and what not. The pitch was full of rough on either side with only the centre untouched. Despite all that, Yuvraj and MS Dhoni batted with utmost responsibility to see India through to a 6-wicket win that took the series lead to 2-1.
The hosts began their chase of 230 with a couple of boundaries in the first over from Johnson. But the Aussies could come back after that to tighten the screws. The naturally attacking Virender Sehwag was getting very restless and in the 9th over came his downfall when he played across to get cleaned up by a skidding ball from Johnson. About five overs later, Sachin Tendulkar fell because of a bad judgement of a single having played a ball to the natural left side of Johnson at mid off. Sachin was looking good with his 32 from 47 balls before getting done in by a direct throw. A couple of overs after his dismissal came the triple blow when Gautam Gambhir played against the turn to get his off stump struck by a Hauritz off break. India slipped to 53 for 3 in the 16th over with that.
The Australians sustained the pressure after that through Doug Bollinger, who was getting the ball to reverse swing and the crafty Nathan Hauritz. The pair of Yuvraj and MS Dhoni did well by taking a lot of short singles. With the dew increasing with time, the match turned in favour of the batting side as Hauritz had the difficult task of gripping the wet ball which wasn’t possible at all. The Hauritz effect came to an end in the 26th over when he leaked a couple of boundaries, one of them coming off a full toss. India gained a lot of momentum soon with Yuvraj Singh playing a neat pick up shot for a six off Moises Henriques in the 34th over. An over later when Ponting decided to take the gamble of giving the wet ball to left arm spinner Adam Voges, India stole as many as 13 runs which included a massive pull from Yuvraj for a six. The left hander also brought up his fifty in the same over with a boundary off a full toss.
India was cruising through to the target and even the departure of Yuvraj Singh in the 44th over didn’t cause any panic. Yuvraj got a rough lbw decision after getting hit painfully on his back knee by Henriques. It was a great knock already by the southpaw scoring 78 from 96 balls with 8 fours and 2 sixes to take India to 201 for 4. Skipper MS Dhoni (71 not out from 95 balls with 6 fours) and Suresh Raina (9*) finished the match on time thanks to the availability of the batting powerplay in the final five overs.
India won the game with 10 balls to spare and the Man of the Match award went to Yuvraj. Australia’s positive from the match has got to be Bollinger with figures of 10-0-26-0. Although the pitch was terrible to say the least, it was still a great match with a packed house and the venue hosting its first ever day night affair.