It took a combined batting performance to take India over the line © Getty Images
It took a combined batting performance to take India over the line © Getty Images

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma set up the chase for India with excellent half-centuries, but it was Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh who sealed the win against Australia in the third and final Twenty20 International (T20I) at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday. Shane Watson had a phenomenal game, but in the end India’s collective effort trumped his individual brilliance.With this win, India have become the No. 1 ranked side in T20Is. They also became the first team to ever whitewash Australia in Australia in a three-match series of any format. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Australia, 3rd T20I at Sydney

It was once again all about India’s top three batsmen, with Shikhar Dhawan getting off to a rollicking start. The left-handed opener thrashed 26 off just 9 balls with 4 fours and 1 six to get India off to a flying start. He and Rohit added 46 in just 3.2 overs. Rohit and Kohli then put on 78 runs for the second wicket in quick time. Kohli and Rohit both got to respective T20 landmarks, with Kohli becoming the third Indian to reach 5,000 T20 runs, and Rohit being the third Indian to 1,000 T20I runs. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: India vs Australia 2015-16, 3rd T20I at Sydney

Rohit scored 52 off 38 balls but was out hitting Cameron Boyce to Shane Watson at short midwicket. Kohli’s scintillating form in Australia continued with his seventh fifty-plus score in eight innings, but his dismissal for exactly 50 — bowled by Boyce after the inside edge spun back onto the stumps — brought Australia right back into the match. The result could have been vastly different though; Suresh Raina, who came in to bat at No. 4, was nearly stumped off the second ball he faced, but Australian stand-in wicketkeeper Cameron Bancroft made a mess of it. Raina survived an went on to score a match-winning 49 not out. All eyes were on India’s No. 5 though; Yuvraj was batting for India for the first time since the ICC World T20 2014 final. READ: Rohit Sharma joins Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina in 1000-run T20I club

The stumping chance having gone begging, Raina started well by timing the ball and finding the gaps early, but Yuvraj’s rustiness was showing. He looked all at sea early in his innings, not finding the middle of his bat at all. After being ahead of the required rate for much of their chase, India ended up needing 34 off the last 3 overs to win, with Raina and a misfiring Yuvraj in the middle. Raina played and missed at a couple of balls in the next over, bowled by Andrew Tye, but found the boundary with his last two balls to bring the equation down to 22 runs off the last two overs. Watson continued with his excellent match, bowling a fantastic penultimate over and conceding a mere 5 runs, which left India with 17 to win off the final over. Yuvraj — struggling on 5 off 9 balls — was on strike. READ: Virat Kohli reaches 5,000 T20 runs in 3rd T20I against Australia

Just when it seemed that Yuvraj’s innings was a repeat of the ICC World T20 2014 final, he turned things around in spectacular fashion. Tye started the final over with one on Yuvraj’s pads, and he found the boundary at fine leg. The next ball was almost the ideal yorker, but Yuvraj found that old magical timing and sent it for six over midwicket. India now needed 7 off 4 balls. The batsmen could only take a bye off the next ball, which brought the equation down to 6 needed off 3 balls. Raina then picked up a couple of runs. Now 4 runs were needed off 2 balls. They then took two more runs to square leg, which meant that the match went to the last ball. India needed 2 to win with Raina batting on 45 on strike. He ended the match by hitting a boundary over point, as India won by 7 wickets off the final delivery. It was a fitting end for India, who came back brilliantly after losing the first four ODIs to finish with a 4-4 tour result.

Earlier, Watson’s sizzling century made Australia’s total surge to a massive 197 for 5. Australia made as many as five changes to the side, the first of which was right at the top of the order. In the absence of both David Warner and Aaron Finch, Watson promoted himself to open along with the in-form debutant Usman Khawaja. The left-hander, who has been in phenomenal form in the last couple of months, showed signs of a similar assault in this innings as well. He got to 14 off just 6 balls before edging Ashish Nehra to MS Dhoni. READ: Shane Watson scores maiden T20I century in 3rd T20I against India

New man Shaun Marsh did not hang around for long, getting bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin for a scratchy 9 off 12 balls. Glenn Maxwell came in at No. 4 but hit the first ball Yuvraj bowled to Raina at cover for a 5-ball 3. None of this affected Watson though, who was timing the ball wonderfully and hitting the everything sweetly. He received good support from Travis Head, and the duo added 93 runs in quick time. Head was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for 26 off 19 balls, but for once the Indian spinners were on the expensive side.

Watson meanwhile got a life on 56 when he was dropped by Virat Kohli in the deep off a tough chance. Hardik Pandya floated one wide of off stump and Watson tried to go over cover. He did not hit it off the middle of the bat, and Kohli dove in front of him to take the catch but he could not hang on. Watson made full use of the chance and cashed in on the not-entirely wayward Indian bowling.

The Indian bowlers did not have as bad a day in the field as the bowling analysis would suggest. Jadeja and Ashwin, both of whom restricted Australia in the first two T20Is, went for 77 runs in their eight combined overs, though they took a wicket apiece. Ashish Nehra was probably the best bowler on the day for India, taking 1 for 32 in his four overs. Yuvraj took a hiding but also picked up the vital wicket of Maxwell. Pandya was expensive, but he ought to have had Watson out much earlier. Bumrah had his first bad match of the tour, going at over 10 runs an over, but taking a wicket as well.

Brief scores:

Australia 197 for 5 in 20 overs (Shane Watson 124*; Yuvraj Singh 1 for 19, Ashish Nehra 1 for 32) lost to India 200 for 3 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 52, Virat Kohli 50, Suresh Raina 49*; Cameron Boyce 2 for 28) by 7 wickets.

Man of the Match: Shane Watson

Man of the Series: Virat Kohli

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(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)