Guwahati: Glenn Maxwell pulled off another stunning one-man Houdini Act during a brutal unbeaten hundred that carried Australia to a five-wicket win over India in the third T20I here on Tuesday.
AdvertisementMaxwell’s 104 off 48 balls (8×4, 8×6) helped Australia surge past India’s massive 222 for 3, built around Ruturaj Gaikwad’s maiden international hundred, a 57-ball 123, in the last ball of the match.
In the process of making 225 for 5, the visitors also cut India’s series lead to 2-1 in the five-match series. Skipper Matthew Wade also chipped in handsomely with a crucial 28 not out, helping Maxwell to raise a match-winning 91 off 40 balls for the sixth wicket.
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AdvertisementHis hundred on this night might not have been that big in volume or on occasion but it gave Australia a foothold in the series. In some way, Maxwell had to play this knock after he leaked 30 runs in the final over of India’s innings, which helped the home side post a big total eventually. Needing 21 runs off the last over bowled by pacer Prasidh Krishna, Maxwell, who escaped a run out chance on 32, sealed the issue with one six and three fours, and also completed his fourth T20I century. His century came off just 47 balls, equalling Josh Inglis and Aaron Finch for the fastest T20I hundred for Australia. India were also bowling with five fielders in the ring in the final over because of a slow-over rate penalty. However, the Australian victory seemed an outside possibility till the penultimate over as the equation read 43 runs from 12 balls. But India had to pay a heavy price for a sloppy piece of wicketkeeping by Ishan Kishan, whose failure to collect the ball behind the stumps off left-arm spinner Axar Patel saw India getting slapped with a no ball. The repeat-ball was smoked for a six by Wade as 22 runs came off in that over. With 21 runs off the last over needed, Australia were always in with a chance through Maxwell’s presence, who played with Krishna’s nerves. Before Maxwell started his mayhem, Australia lost three wickets for 21 runs to be 68/3 after World Cup final hero Travis Head gave them a quick start with 35 off 18 balls before pacer Avesh Khan had his measure with a slow ball. However, the Indian bowlers could not stop the one-man army called Maxwell. Earlier, Gaikwad slammed a career-best 123, which was also the first ton by an Indian batter against Australia in T20Is. On a wicket that had some extra bounce and swing, India had a shaky start losing both their in-form batters Yashasvi Jaiswal (6) and Ishan Kishan (0) cheaply after Wade opted to bowl to make use of the dewy conditions. Skipper Suryakumar Yadav (39; 29b) looked set for a big knock with two sixes and five boundaries before debutant pacer Aaron Hardie dismissed him with a short ball just after the halfway mark. With run-rate not an issue — eight per over — they needed someone to anchor their innings, and the Indian vice-captain Gaikwad played the role to perfection. From 13 off 15 balls, the right-hander with orthodox technique, who often drew flak for his slow starts, switched gears after Surya’s dismissal, displaying the wide array of shots in his repertoire. His knock was not just about classical drives in the V but also a testament to his brute power. He packed a lot of punch in his pulls and an inside-out maximum. It was a different Gaikwad on display during the last six overs. Once he got his first 50 off 32 balls, he then went berserk, taking another 20 to bring up his maiden triple digit score in the last over of Maxwell. Gaikwad muscled Maxwell over wide long-on to bring up his century with a six as he smashed two more in the same over that yielded 30 runs as India amassed their third 200-plus total in as many matches in this series.