Australia’s lack of late-over hitting left a Steve Smith masterclass in vain as India claimed a seven-wicket victory and the one-day series 2-1 in Bangalore.
Smith scored 131 in Australia’s 9-286 on Sunday night, before a Rohit Sharma century saw India chase down the target with 15 balls to spare.
After they failed to build upon an early base with the bat, India could cruise through their innings with little risks taken
Only Ashton Agar’s 1-38 and Adam Zampa’s 1-44 slowed the hosts’ momentum, while Pat Cummins had one of the worst days of his ODI career with 0-64 from seven overs.
Mitchell Starc also went at 7.3 an over, while Josh Hazlewood was more impressive with 1-55 in his first ODI in 14 months.
But after Agar dismissed KL Rahul for 19, Sharma and Virat Kohli put on a show.
Sharma notched up his eighth one-day century against Australia to finish on 119 from 128 balls, while Kohli also hit 89 before being bowled by Hazlewood.
Australia were most left to rue a poor end to their own batting innings, where no-one could go with Smith.
The former captain hit 36 from 21 balls in the final 10 overs, while his teammates contributed just 22 from 39 balls in the same period.
Ashton Turner scored only four but chewed up 10 balls, while Agar went at less than a run a ball for his 11no.
“We were probably a few short,” captain Aaron Finch said.
“Just as we started to build a platform we lost a wicket and then rebuild again and lose one.
“That middle order in particular haven’t played a hue amount of one-day cricket. They’re still learning.”
Mumbai: Australia win by 🔟 wickets
Rajkot: India win by 3️⃣6️⃣ runs
Bengaluru: India win by 7️⃣ wickets
End of an exciting, closely-contested series 🙌 pic.twitter.com/50Osme93Kv
— ICC (@ICC) January 19, 2020
Mitchell Starc was also shuffled up to No.5 to try and take on the spinners as a pinch hitter, but fell to a third-ball duck.
It all highlighted the Aussies’ lack of power hitting in the area after dropping Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis after poor World Cups.
Afterwards, India captain Virat Kohli admitted he was surprised Maxwell hadn’t been on the tour to lift the run-rate.
“I was very surprised he wasn’t here, especially the way he performed last time in the T20 series.
“He got 100 in the last game and they won the series here.”
Meanwhile, Smith also had to brush aside a mix up with Finch, as the Aussie captain was run out for 19 and yelled in Smith’s direction on the way off the field.
While there were issues at the other end, Smith never lost his composure to post his first ODI century in three years.
He played gloriously all around the ground and became the fourth-fastest Australian to 4000 ODI runs along the way before he hold out off Mohammad Shami in the 48th over.
Smith combined in a 127-run stand with Marnus Labuschagne, who again looked busy for his 54 from 64, while Alex Carey also hit 35 from 36.
However, the target never looked like being enough on a batter-friendly wicket, as India cruised home with regular opener Shikhar Dhawan nursing an injured shoulder.
It marks Australia’s first loss in a bilateral series since last January.