A game with much at stake in the series decider at Sydney, India looked to level the series after rain denied them an easy win in the previous T20 at Melbourne. On the other hand, the hosts were in search of their first T20I series win against India in the last 10 years.
After winning the toss, Australia decided to bat first to claim the early honours and put pressure on the Indians for the chase in the latter half of the game. The hosts brought in Mitchell Starc in place of Jason Behrendroff as the only change while India went unchanged after an impressive performance in Melbourne.
Aussies got off to a flier with no wickets in the first six overs but the visitors pulled it back with few quick wickets in the middle overs. In the end, the late impetus from the likes of Chris Lynn and Alex Carey saw Australia post a total of runs in their allotted overs.
In response, the Indian opening duo of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan clobbered Australian attack to all parts of the ground to lay the foundation for the others to follow. However, few wickets in the middle-overs gave a certain hiccup before Virat Kohli, who was well-supported by Dinesh Karthik, saw the team home to seal a 6-wicket win to level the series 1-1.
Here’s a look at four unnoticed things from the match:
#5 Highest opening partnership for Australia in the series
After deciding to bat first, the home team got off to a good start negotiating India’s pace bowler upfront and then capitalizing in the first six overs.
The batting duo of Aaron Finch and D'Arcy Short saw their team in a comfortable position after the powerplay. Australia took full advantage of the fielding restrictions to muster 49 runs in the first six overs.
This was also their highest opening partnership in the series so far. In a previous couple of outings, the openers could only register stands of 24 and 1 in the first two matches of the series. Though both the openers looked confident on a wicket that didn’t have anything for the fast bowlers. However, they faced tough times against Indian spinners who got assistance from the surface to do enough to get the better of the batsman.
#4 No wickets for Bhuvi-Bumrah
It was a rare sight as far as Indian bowling is concerned in the limited overs format of the game. India's two stock bowlers and by far their most experienced campaigners, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah were devoid of any wickets in the 3rd T20I at Sydney. The dynamic duo didn't only claim any wickets but was also on the receiving end with a bit of hammering in the back end of the innings.
On a relatively slow wicket, fast bowlers didn't have a great outing with nearly no assistance from the wicket. Bhuvi, who is known for his swing with the new ball, bowled a tidy spell upfront to concede only twelve in his first two overs. On the other hand, India's yorker specialist in Bumrah looked off-colour with few full-tosses and overpitched deliveries while trying to pitch it in the blockhole.
A bad day at the office saw both the seamers concede more than eight runs in an over.
#3 Krunal Pandya registers best figures for a spinner in T20Is in Australia
After being taken for runs in his maiden outing in Australia, Krunal Pandya staged a strong comeback in the subsequent games. He was accurate with his exploits with the ball and even accounted for his old nemesis Glenn Maxwell in the T20I at Melbourne.
He could stretch his good run even in the 3rd T20I at Sydney. In his only sixth appearance for India, the left-arm spinner registered best bowling figures for any spinner in Australia.
His figures of 4 for 36 helped India crawl their way back into the game after the hosts were off to a flier start in the powerplay. He got assistance from the surface with the slow turn as he bowled much slower in the air. His success got aided by some poor shots by the Australians during their take against Pandya.
#2 Dinesh Karthik stays unbeaten in another India win
In the past twelve months, the men in blue can boast to have found a new finisher in Dinesh Karthik in the shortest format of the game. The Tamil Nadu lad has everything possible to help him earn a name of a finisher for India in the recent past. His lower-order exploits have benefitted India to pull off victories whenever thrown in deep waters.
Before today's game, Karthik had remained unbeaten on eight occasions in T20Is to get his side past the finishing line.
To add to his exploits, Dinesh remained unbeaten in today's game to once again see India home. He supported skipper in the end and saw pressure off from Kohli to allow him to play his innings with a lot more freedom. Karthik played second fiddle with his 18-ball 22, featuring a four and a mighty six against Tye to ease out things for his side.
#1 Virat Kohli registers highest runs against any opponent in T20Is - 488 vs Australia
Indian skipper rose to the occasion in an all-important series decider at Sydney. The stakes were high as India went in with an opportunity to square off the series. After a blistering start by the openers, India saw trouble in the middle-overs with the hosts picking up a few quick wickets in successive deliveries.
Though 'Cometh the hour, Cometh the man', Kohli took the onus upon himself to guide his side through to the finishing line. Playing on his favourite No.3 position for the first time in this year in T20Is, Kohli stacked up another half-century.
In due course, he registered most T20I runs against any opponent in T20 cricket. He took his tally of runs to 488 in just 14 matches. It was his fifth T20I fifty against the men in yellow as India sealed a comfortable six-wicket win to level the series.