Hardik Pandya nicks off Steve Smith twice in a row

Australia squandered the advantage by losing wickets in a clump in the middle overs during the final ODI at Chennai, huffing and puffing to a below-par total after having blazed off the blocks. Having opted to bat at the MA Chidambaram stadium, Australia had flourished in the powerplay thanks to some typically flamboyant batting by their openers, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh, but lost the plot with the introduction of Hardik Pandya into the attack.

The all-rounder saw Head being reprieved on 17 by Shubman Gill at deep square leg but had him caught at third man shortly thereafter to make sure that the damage was minimised. He netted the big fish promptly as Australia’s skipper Steve Smith nicked off in his next over to fall for a duck. With his assortment of cutters and back of length balls, Hardik put a kibosh on Australia’s freewheeling strokeplay. The wicket of Mitchell Marsh was the icing on the cake as the burly hitter fell three short of what could have been three fifties on the trot.

The quick wickets twinned with the discipline shown by Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav kept the squeeze on Australia.