Faulkner's whirlwind innings gives Australia 2-1 lead

Mohali, Oct 19 (IANS) A sensational knock of 64 from 29 balls by James Faulkner towards the end of the innings helped Australia to a four-wicket win over India in the third of the seven-match One-Day International (ODI) series at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here Saturday.

India pacer Ishant Sharma will not forget Faulkner for quite a while as it his over (48th) which put the match in Australia's pot as the latter hammered 30 runs, including four sixes and one boundary, to put the match in Australia's kitty.

Chasing 304, the visitors managed to achieve the target with three balls to spare, taking a 2-1 lead in the series.

Earlier, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni took his side out from the depths with a swashbuckling unbeaten 139 off 121 balls. The home side, reeling at 76/4 and then at 154/6, managed to reach 303/9 because of Dhoni's master class innings.

Australia kept their run rate steady while chasing.

Their top order got starts but could not convert them into big ones as they regularly lost wickets. Skipper George Bailey (43) and Adam Voges (76 not out) however struck an important 83-run fourth wicket partnership to guide them towards their target.

Three quick wickets saw Australia reeling at 213/6. In came the 23-year-old Faulkner, who along with Voges put together an unbeaten partnership of 91 off 50 balls. Faulkner's fantastic innings included six sixes, four of which came in Ishant Sharma's over, and two boundaries.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/50) and Ravindra Jadeja (1/31) were the pick of the bowlers as they managed to keep the run rate down when needed.

After put in to bat, India recovered from a top order failure to post a 300-par total. No one, apart from in-form batsman Virat Kohli (68) clicked in the top five. Thereon, it was an all Dhoni-show, who launched himself on the Australian bowlers towards the end of the Indian innings.

Dhoni played a breath-taking knock and in the process reached 5,000 runs as an ODI captain, the third Indian to do so after Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly. His innings included 12 boundaries and five huge sixes. He was also given good support by Ravichandran Ashwin, who chipped in with 28.

Pacer Mitchell Johnson was the pick of the Australian bowlers, notching up four wickets from 10 overs.

The fourth ODI will be played in Ranchi.

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