India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal captured the best figures by any bowler in one-day cricket in Australia to restrict the home side to just 230 in the third and deciding game in Melbourne on Friday, with India winning the match by seven wickets and taking the series 2-1.
Chahal, playing in his first match in the series after coming in for wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, mesmerised the Australians with his six for 42 to set India 231, which was later chased down by MS Dhoni (87 not out) and Kedar Jadhav (61 not out) with seven wickets and four wickets to spare.
Chahal shares the record with fellow Indian Ajit Agarkar, who claimed the same figures against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in 2004.
The leg-spinner had been having a lukewarm run in ODIs after a successful outing in South Africa last year, failing to reap similar success during the tour of England. Ravindra Jadeja's successful return to ODI cricket in the Asia Cup further intensified the challenge for Chahal to retain his spot in the white-ball cricket.
However, Chahal has made a strong case for the team management to hand him a longer rope in one-dayers courtesy his dazzling performance at the MCG, and has boosted his chances of featuring in India's World Cup campaign in England later this summer.
For now, let us revisit his deadly spell at Melbourne, with a detailed look at all of Chahal's six wickets:
Wicket 1: Chahal got the ball in his hand for the first time after landing on Australian soil, and took just two deliveries to make an impact. He fired one down the leg side to dismiss the man who had redeemed himself with a century at Adelaide. Dhoni wasn't lightning quick while whipping the bails off, but managed to get the job done nevertheless, as Shaun Marsh's bat was marginally short of the popping crease. An important partnership was broken there as Marsh feel eleven short of a fifty.
Wicket 2: In just a space of a couple of deliveries, Chahal sent two set Australian batsmen back to the dressing room, all this while not having bowled a full over yet. The ball may have stopped a bit on Usman Khawaja, who got a leading edge and offered the leg-spinner a simple catch to depart for 34. Just when Marsh and Khawaja were starting to stitch a valuable partnership, in came Chahal and turned the tide.
Wicket 3: Chahal had earlier greeted Stoinis with a googly in the first delivery that the all-rounder faced. Stoinis managed to collect a boundary off the leggie a couple of deliveries later to boost his confidence, but was ultimately beaten by the extra turn on offer, edging one to the slips where Rohit Sharma pulled off a fantastic low catch. Stoinis, who smashed a quickfire 47 not out at Sydney to guide the hosts to a competitive 288, failed to last beyond 20 deliveries on this occasion.
Wicket 4: Chahal was hit for three boundaries by the hard-hitting Glenn Maxwell towards the end of his first spell. Following Maxwell's departure off Mohammed Shami's bowling, Peter Handscomb and Jhye Richardson continued to keep the hosts afloat with a dangerous-looking stand. Kohli had saved four of Chahal's overs for the third powerplay, and his strategy paid off as the leggie removed Richardson not long into his second spell, the batsman flicking it straight to Jadhav at short mid-wicket to depart for 16.
Wicket 5: Chahal effectively snuffed out any chance of Australia posting a score in excess of 250 by trapping Handscomb plumb leg-before, the middle-order batsman falling shortly after bringing up his half-century. Handscomb tried reviewing the dismissal, being the last recognised batsman out at the centre, but had little to say after getting three reds in the referral, with hawk-eye showing the ball to be hitting the very centre of the middle stump. Handscomb missed a straighter one from Chahal that skidded on, beating the inside edge along the way. Chahal, meanwhile, registered his second ODI five-for.
Wicket 6: Chahal completed a memorable day with the ball by registering his career-best figures, becoming the first spinner to collect six wickets in an ODI innings on Australian soil after dismissing his Australian counterpart Adam Zampa who holed out to Vijay Shankar at long on while trying to collect a maximum. Chahal was greeted with a round of applause at the end of his quota, with his figures reading 6/42 — level with that of Agarkar's performance at the same venue 15 years ago.
With inputs from AFP