Ton-up Gaikwad fires India to 222-3 in Australia T20
GUWAHATI, India (AFP)— Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad struck his maiden international century as India posted 222-3 against Australia with the hosts eyeing a series win in the third Twenty20 on Tuesday.
Gaikwad smashed an unbeaten 123 off 57 balls and put on 141 runs with Tilak Varma to take the attack to the opposition bowlers after India lost two early wickets in Guwahati.
Gaikwad, who hit 58 in the team’s previous win, reached his 100 off 52 balls and hammered three sixes and two fours in a 30-run final over.
Australia, who trail the five-match series 2-0, elected to bowl first with Travis Head returning to the team after his match-winning century in the ODI World Cup final earlier this month.
The tourists have made wholesale changes to their squad as they reportedly sent home World Cup stars Steve Smith and Adam Zampa.
Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis and Sean Abbott — all part of the group that won a record-extending sixth 50-over World Cup title — are to fly home after this game.
Jason Behrendorff struck first to remove in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal caught behind for six and fellow quick Kane Richardson had Ishan Kishan out for a duck.
Captain Suryakumar Yadav fell after a 29-ball 39 to Nathan Ellis, but Gaikwad stood firm to hit back in a partnership with Varma, who hit 31.
India made one change to their team after fast bowler Mukesh Kumar was “granted leave” for his marriage.
The series is a tune-up for next year’s T20 World Cup in June.