Australia batted first after winning the toss and put up 269 on the board. Mitchell Marsh top-scored with a run-a-ball 47 before being bowled by Hardik Pandya. A lot of the other batters also chipped in, although they could not convert their starts. Captain Steve Smith fell for a duck, but Travis Head (33), Alex Carey (38), David Warner (23), Marnus Labuschagne (28) and Marcus Stoinis (25) played handy knocks.
Still, India did well to reduce the Aussies to 203 for 7. However, a defiant eighth wicket stand of 42 between Sean Abbott (26) and Ashton Agar (17) ensured Australia finished with a competitive total.
In the chase of 270, India got off to a good start as Rohit Sharma (30) and Shubman Gill (37) featured in a 65-run stand. However, both perished in quick succession. Virat Kohli (54) and KL Rahul (32) added 69 for the third wicket to boost India’s chances. Rahul, however, fell in his endeavor to take on Zampa. A brilliant piece of fielding them resulted in the run-out off Axar Patel for 2.
Kohli too fell after crossing his half-century, caught off a mistimed lofted him against Ashton Agar. The left-arm spinner cleaned up Suryakumar Yadav next ball as the Indian batter registered his third consecutive golden duck.
Pandya (40) and Jadeja Ravindra (18) gave India brief hope, adding 33 for the seventh wicket. Both all-rounders, however, fell trying to take on Zampa. In the end, Team India were all out for 248 in 49.1 overs as Australia emerged deserved victors.
Reflecting on the memorable win, Australian captain Smith said, “It's been an enjoyable tour. We didn't play our best cricket, good enough to get over the line. This wicket was entirely different, we left a few out there with the bat.”
Praising the slow bowlers, he added, “The spinners bowled beautifully, really good performance. It was a real grind in the field. The way the tail stuck and got us to 269, got us to a nice total.”
Player of the Match Zampa credited fellow spinner Agar for turning the match in Australia’s favor. He commented, “I have had some success here. It's a tough place to come, always a huge challenge. I try to stay in the game and be competitive. Ashton Agar changed the game.
“Kudos to the bowlers who bowled before me as well. We trust each other, trust our game plan. The message was to trust our process and improve on it.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent