New Delhi, Jan 6: In a nail-biting final overs India beat Pakistan by 10 runs in third ODI hereon Sunday. It was a low-scoring match as India set a target of 168 runs for Pakistan to win, but Indian bowlers never allowed the Pakistani batmen to set at any stage. From Indian bowlers Ishant Sharma took 3, Kumar-Ashwin took 2 wickets each while Ahmed-Jadeja took 1 wicket each.
Earlier, India’s horrendous batting show continued unabated as the hosts were bowled out for a paltry 167 against Pakistan in the third and final cricket One-day international, in New Delhi on Sunday.
So pathetic was India’s batting that they could not even last the full 50 overs after electing to bat. They were bundled out in 43.4 overs as Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal recorded a career-best performance of five for 24.
If India fail to defend the total, they would suffer their first series whitewash in 29 years. The last time India suffered the ignominy was at home in 1983 when the West Indies had routed the then world champion 5-0.
India’s top-order collapsed again in the face of some fiery bowling by the Pakistani pacers — Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan — at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.
Pakistan bowled as a unit — the fast bowlers provided a start and the spinners carried on with the good work.
India owed their partial recovery to a sensible partnership between skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (36) and Suresh Raina (31). They joined forces when the team was stuttering at 63 for four and their 48-run stand for the fifth wicket repaired the flagging innings to some extent. They batted cautiously, looking for singles and punishing the bad balls.
Raina was timing the ball well, driving and lofting confidently. The diminutive left-hander hit an elegant six off Mohammed Hafeez over long-on and Dhoni, too, later hit the same bowler for two consecutive sixes.
However, Ajmal broke the stand by trapping Raina before also scalping R. Ashwin in the next ball, which brought Ravindra Jadeja to the crease.
Dhoni dispatched Hafeez for another six over mid-wicket boundary before being dropped by the same the bowler in his follow through later on. Dhoni smashed one hard, which Hafeez tried to latch on to but only ended up hurting his left hand. Dhoni was batting on 29 at the time.
A fit-again India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat in the dead third rubber against Pakistan at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Sunday.
India made two changes with Virender Sehwag and Ashok Dinda making way for Ajinkya Rahane and green horn Shami Ahmed.
Pakistan made one change: Umar Akmal replaced Azhar Ali.
Dhoni was doubtful for the match with a sore back but recovered in time.
Pakistan have already won the series 2-0.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Shami Ahmed.
Pakistan: Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Irfan.
Umpires: S. Asnani and B.F. Bowden (New Zealand)
TV umpire: V.A. Kulkarni
Match referee: Roshan AMahanama (Sri Lanka)