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Kohli’s heroics in vain as Australia clinches ODI series

SYDNEY: Another pulsating Steve Smith’s century and two flying outfield catches helped Australia to clinch the three-match one-day International (ODI) series 2-0.

Chasing an enormous target of 390, the Men in Blue could manage just 338 runs in their 50 overs. Skipper Kohli’s brilliant knock of 89 went in vain as the Australians took wickets at a crucial stage of the game.

India lost Shikhar Dhawan in the eighth over of their innings when he miscued Josh Hazlewood and was caught by Mitchell Starc for 30 off 23 balls, and fellow opener Mayank Agarwal went in the next over.

A sensational catch by Smith at mid-wicket ended Iyer’s knock of 38, giving Moises Henriques a wicket. Henriques proved Australia’s hero with his athletic horizontal catch to dismiss Kohli off Hazlewood for the prized wicket in the 35th over.

K.L. Rahul hit an enterprising 76 off 66 balls before he sliced leg-spinner Adam Zampa high to Hazlewood at short third man in the 44th over. For Australia, the pick of the wickets was Pat Cummins who picked up three wickets.

Earlier in the day, Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. After opting to bat first, they had set a huge 390-run target for India, thanks to a brilliant 100 from Steve Smith and half-centuries from Glenn Maxwell, David Warner and Aaron Finch.

It was India’s fifth consecutive ODI defeat — for the first time since January 2016 — with the tourists now bidding to prevent a series whitewash in Wednesday’s final game in Canberra.