Australia preserve 2-1 series lead over India after abandoned 4th ODI

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Australia managed to preserve their 2-1 lead over India as the 4th ODI at Ranchi was called off due to a heavy downpour. India had just began their chase of a competitive 296 when rain descended upon and the JSCA ground could not recover from the dampness. MS Dhoni finally ended his toss woes by proving to be lucky at his home ground, winning the toss for the first time in this series and invited Australia to bat 1st. There was a bit of moisture in the air and rain appeared to be on the horizon, so Dhoni decided it was an easy call to chase.

India made two changes to their side with their two pacers Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma  making way for Jaidev Unadkat and Mohammad Shami.  Amit Mishra continued to warm the benches. Australia were unchanged chasing a 3-1 series lead.

The day started well for Shami who delivered three quick wickets, exploiting the overcast conditions to full effect. The 23 year old brought the ball in sharply to remove Aaron Finch (5) and Shane Watson (14) while he moved one away from Phil Hughes (11) as the visitors were left tottering at 32 for 3. But once again the skipper, George Bailey came to the rescue by putting up another commanding performance and along with Glenn Maxwell raced up the run-rate to put the Aussies in the driving seat. The duo put up a 152 run partnership which was assisted by some clumsy Indian fielding. India dropped 3 catches in the field today. Bailey was dropped thrice including off the first ball he faced with Virat Kohli grounding a sitter in the slips, while Maxwell was also given a reprieve. Vinay Kumar broke the stand by removing Bailey for 98 who missed out on a well deserved century and then Maxwell (92) in his very next over. Ravindra Jadeja also chipped in between to send back Brad Haddin (3). Indian bowling finally was able to dominate the death overs as they allowed Australia to collect only 71 runs from the last 13 overs. However, responsible cameos from James Faulkner (23) and Mitchell Johnson (25*) ensured that the Indians were set another stiff target of 296.

The Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were off to an aggressive start but what would have been an interesting chase, was forced to be abandoned due to heavy rain with just over four overs being bowled in the 2nd innings.

The weather doesn’t look promising in Cuttack too where the two sides will meet on Saturday in the 5th ODI. Things become even more difficult for India as they would be eager to make it 2-2 as soon as possible.

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Cricket Heaven Staff

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