Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja’s surgical strike sinks camouflaged India!

Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja plays a shot during the third one-day international (ODI) cricket match between India and Australia at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association International Cricket Stadium, in Ranchi on March 8, 2019. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP) / —-IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE—–

Opener Usman Khawaja’s maiden one-day international century helped Australia outplay India by 32 runs to stay alive in the five-match series on Friday.

Adam Zampa led the bowling charge with three wickets including the prized scalp of India captain Virat Kohli, for 123, to help dismiss the hosts for 281 in 48.2 overs while chasing 314 in Ranchi.

Fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson also took three wickets each and combined to wipe off the Indian tail after Kohli’s second successive ton gave the tourists a scare.

Kohli, who hit a match-winning 116 in the second ODI, smashed 16 fours and a six during his 95-ball knock before being bowled off Zampa’s leg-spin googly.

For Australia, Khawaja, who made 104, and skipper Aaron Finch, who hit 93, put on a 193-run opening stand to guide their team to 313 for five after being put in to bat.

Finch struck form with his 19th ODI 50 but fell short of the three-figure mark after being trapped lbw off Kuldeep Yadav, who took three wickets.

His 99-ball knock was laced with 10 fours and 3 sixes.

The left-handed Khawaja, who hit 11 fours and a six in his 113-ball knock, kept up the pace during a 46-run second-wicket stand with the in-form Glenn Maxwell, who made 47.

Indian Cricket Team, that sported the Special Army Caps during the match were criticized for doing so, especially from Muslim followers of the game who termed ICC as a toothless body as it reprimanded English Cricketer Moeen Ali for wearing a wristband supporting Palestine but allowed India to wear a camouflage military cap as a mark of respect for their Armed Forces.

However, the gimmick didn’t help the hosts as they lost their first match of the series, thanks to resistance from the Pakistan-born Aussie Usman Khawaja.

India leads the series 2-1; the fourth ODI is on Sunday in Chandigarh.

Hasnain Shafeeq

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