Bengaluru, Dec 3 (PTI) India fought through a well-tuned 53 by Shreyas Iyer but the Australian bowlers exploited a tacky pitch to the hilt to restrict the hosts to a modest 160 for eight in the fifth and final T20I here on Sunday.
Chasing a consolation win after losing the series 1-3, Australian captain Matthew Wade opted to bowl after winning the toss and his bowlers responded to the call with a fine collective effort.
From the outset it was clear that the Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch was not the familiar shirtfront on which batters can make merry.
Iyer showed the way with a refined fifty, mixing well-judged singles and twos and the occasional big hits to the fence.
His pick-up shot off left-arm pacer Ben Dwarshuis over mid-off for a six was a really astonishing shot but other batsmen could not emulate him except Axar Patel (31 off 21 balls) with whom he milked 46 valuable runs for the sixth wicket.
Iyer completed his fifty off 36 balls with a massive six over mid-wicket off pacer Nathan Ellis to give some energy to the crowd.
However, it was not really sufficient to nullify Australia’s excellent outing with the ball.
The Aussie pacers read the pitch’s nature quite well and took the pace off the ball immediately. Yashasvi Jaiswal was their first scalp.
The Indian opener made a customary bright beginning slamming pacers Jason Behrendorff and Aaron Hardie for a six each.
But left-arm pacer Behrendorff made a ball to climb on to the body of Jaiswal from the length and the lack of space to free hands robbed his pull of timing as Ellis completed a fine running catch near square leg.
The in-form Ruturaj Gaikwad’s effort to clear the ring off Dwarshuis ended in the hands of Behrendorff as India lost their openers within the Power Play segment itself.
It appeared the night of Suryakumar Yadav once a sideways flying Ben McDermott could not hold onto his uppish square cut off Dwarshuis. The Indian captain was on naught then.
However, that wasn't so. Suryakumar soon fell to Dwarshuis as his attempt for another square cut off the pacer was McDermott at point.
Rinku Singh entered the field accompanied by loud cheer by a near-capacity crowd but the left-hander could not negate the weary surface.
Rinku had to drag the shot from outside the off-stump off leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha and Tim David at long-on had little trouble in completing the catch.
Jitesh Sharma (24 off 16 balls) helped Shreyas to raise 42 runs for the fifth wicket, but Indian batters’ struggles to stitch together a big alliance was palpable.