Australia v India, 3rd T20, Sydney January 31, 2016

Ice-cool Raina lifts India to 3-0 whitewash


India 3 for 200 (Rohit 52, Kohli 50, Raina 49*) beat Australia 5 for 197 (Watson 124*) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Agarkar: Every player in India's XI looks in healthy form

A thrilling chase and a cruel missed chance saw India seal a Twenty20 series sweep over Australia at the SCG, as the more settled side was victorious once again.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli laid the groundwork for India's pursuit before Suresh Raina was able to finish things off with the help of Yuvraj Singh, who looked out of touch before finding his timing at precisely the right moment as the pair took 19 off Andrew Tye's final over of the innings to finish off the win. Victory also lifted India to No.1 in the ICC T20 rankings; they were eighth before the series began.

Raina was fortunate to be there, having escaped a stumping chance second ball. The bowler Cameron Boyce was Australia's outstanding performer on the night, but he was let down by the glove work of Cameron Bancroft, a speculative choice as wicketkeeper for this match in the absence of Matthew Wade.

The error typified Australia's muddled approach to this series, just a month out from the World T20 in India. However they did have the consolation of an outstanding century by the stand-in captain Shane Watson, who showed why he should be indispensable to the team's campaign on the same day his former team-mate Michael Clarke announced he intended to return to cricket after a five-month break.

India's bowling was not particularly strong this night, but their batting strength was demonstrated by Rohit, Kohli and Raina. Vitally, Raina and Yuvraj did not lose their heads under the pressure of the chase - a strong lesson for the Australians given their panicky displays in Adelaide and Melbourne.

In pursuit of 198, India needed a fast start, something Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit were more than capable of providing. Dhawan only lasted nine balls, but in that time clumped 26 runs and made a mess of Shaun Tait. Rohit was a little more circumspect, but helped keep the score ticking over well ahead of the required rate.

Australia were able to pull things back somewhat through the middle overs thanks largely to the bowling of Watson and the legspinner Boyce, who gave the ball teasing flight and loaded it with spin to beat Rohit, Kohli and Raina in the air. Boyce gained two wickets for his effort but should have had a third, when Bancroft missed the stumping chance that a more seasoned keeper might have completed.

After Kohli's exit to Boyce's penultimate ball for another sparkling contribution of 50, Raina and Yuvraj Singh pottered around for a time. As MS Dhoni had done during the 50-over match on this ground a little over a week ago, they allowed the equation to stretch out while finding their bearings, and Tye was left to defend 17 from the final over.

As though rousing from a deep sleep, Yuvraj pounced on Tye's first two balls, flicking over backward square leg to the fence then pounding a six into the heaving crowd at midwicket. That rather simplified the equation for India, and a pair of hustled twos by Raina were followed by an exultant last ball boundary that completed India's clean sweep.

Watson had won the toss on a warm evening and walked out to bat with his Thunder opening partner Usman Khawaja. In the form of his life, Khawaja strolled to 14 from five balls before edging a good one from Ashish Nehra and being dismissed for less than 50 for the first time since last October.

That was something of a shock for the crowd and the Australians, but Watson was soon finding his range with powerful shots struck through and over MS Dhoni's fields. He was given a helping hand by a pair of no-balls from Jaspreet Bumrah in the fourth over, the second from the free-hit he gave up by bowling the first - both were crunched to the cover boundary by Watson.

Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell could not endure in Watson's company, but Travis Head provided common sense support to his captain, who grew in fluency and confidence with every over. A few weeks ago Watson had played similarly well on this ground for the Sydney Thunder against the Sydney Sixers, and this time Watson went on from his typical resting place between 50 and 90 to a maiden T20 international century.

The milestone brought an expansive celebration by Watson on the ground of his adopted home state for several reasons. Not only was it a rare international century for him and a moment to assure his presence in the team for the World T20 in India, the innings was also doubtless a timely one a few days before the IPL auction.

Watson would follow up with some tidy bowling, but as captain he could do little about some of the less illustrious work of others, as India romped home. They will go into the World T20 full of confidence; Australia meanwhile do not look sure where to go.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Arindom on February 3, 2016, 13:05 GMT

    Yes-Hari Das-we did lose the games you have mentioned ( though why u want to keep them in mind beats me). Cricket is only a game. But it is the Pom ego and Australian arrogance, that makes the wins against them so sweet.

  • Pratyush on February 3, 2016, 9:32 GMT

    No team is ever a favourite in T20. Just depends who handles pressure better. Most teams more or less play alike. If pitches turn though, then the teams with spinners (India, Pak, SL) though would definitely have an edge in the WC.

  • Andrew on February 3, 2016, 6:58 GMT

    Kudos to India for winning under pressure at the close of an innings, as well as their comprehensive victories in the preceding two matches and a well deserved series win.

    Bumrah is a potential superstar of the future and a real pleasure to watch. I can't help but think the ODI series results would've been different had he been playing in all of those matches, too.

  • aks on February 2, 2016, 16:56 GMT

    PMUKUND_ ON FEBRUARY 1, 2016, 20:36 GMT

    lol never read anything like this

  •   Hari Das on February 2, 2016, 10:33 GMT

    Its Funny that our fellow indians forgot that we lost a oneday series 4-1 , before that we lost 3-2 to proteas and 2-1 Bangladesh, so just a T-20 victory has changed our whole mindset , if you see all the 3 games its because of brilliant batting we won the series , Our spinners were able to take wickets since they had cushion of good score, wonder if the OZ team had decent spinner or pace bowler in their lineup. My only advice to fellow indians is OZ may be bad T-20 team , but other teams like SA,NZ are still doing well in the shortest format.Just Saying we are no-1 T20's does'nt make any sense like OZ selectors sending Smith,Warner,Hazleedwood(after 1st one day) to NZ.

  • Paddy on February 2, 2016, 7:08 GMT

    Raina is a magnificent finisher-kudos to him.Still seems to retain the flair to close out matches.India lacks that "punch" except for Dhone who is actually playiong very well(23 off 9 bhalls,11 off 2 balls).At the death ikt is only strike that matters.Axar patel would have been useful in that regard,particularly in India

  • Graham on February 2, 2016, 0:44 GMT

    KargilBoy : When were we last whitewashed in ODI cricket? We have won series in England, quite regularly in India, in Dubai, in Sri Lanka. HOwever not sure if we have ever been whitewashed as you say we do regularly.

  • Rahul on February 2, 2016, 0:44 GMT

    People go to see Barcelona play but not many go to see Test cricket and the only series that draws a full crowd is the ancient, colonial rivalry that is The Ashes. Oh and any series involving India because we Indians are all across the world.

  • Ranganathan on February 1, 2016, 20:36 GMT

    Good performance by the Indian team, but Kohli please teach the youngsters like Bumrah, Sran etc. what to eat, when to eat and how to eat as much as possible. Else they will drop their pace from 140s to 130s, and then to 120s. Shove the steaks into them. Threaten to drop Ishant if he insists on starving himself. Kohli cannot manage to cut the buffalo meat exports to solve women's (mother's) anemia at home, but he can do this much. Especially, it is wonderful that Hardik Pandya came so far eating junk (maggi). Teach him to eat. Umesh seems well-fed but needs motivation.

  • Pranshu on February 1, 2016, 19:18 GMT

    @IRFAN.SRINAGAR.KASHMIR - India's success is burnol for you know who.

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