Hardik Pandya could well be the all-rounder India have been waiting for | india-vs-australia-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Hardik Pandya could well be the all-rounder India have been waiting for

Hardik Pandya was named Player-of-the-Match in India’s first ODI against Australia which the hosts won by 26 runs (D/L Method) in Chennai on Sunday.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 18, 2017 10:22 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Hardik Pandya scored 83 off 66 balls which helped India win the first ODI against Australia in Chennai.
Hardik Pandya scored 83 off 66 balls which helped India win the first ODI against Australia in Chennai.(Reuters)

The all-rounder in Hardik Pandya hasn’t had much chance to showcase his batting prowess in shorter formats since that epic 76 against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final earlier this year. And since his debut, only thrice has he bowled the full quota of 10 overs. (Highlights) (Scorecard)

A rain shortened ODI on Sunday meant Pandya’s wait for the day to bowl 10 overs continues but Chennai might be remembered as the venue where he gave a strong account of who he could transform into. He goes to Kolkata on the back of a 66-ball 83 and the wickets of Steve Smith and Travis Head, promising more if he wields some control on his aggression.

READ | India vs Australia: Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal shine as AUS slip in Chennai rain

On the flipside though, Pandya’s aggression probably spelt the difference in this game.

Coming to the crease with India struggling at 87/5, Pandya took his time to get used to the pace of the pitch and resurrect the innings under the guidance of MS Dhoni. Boundaries coming at a premium, Pandya and Dhoni focused on running as many singles as possible on a sluggish outfield.

He did play a couple of cheeky ramp shots but was otherwise largely playing a safe game till Adam Zampa came to bowl the 37th over. He warmed up to his big hitting with a straight shot that just cleared James Faulkner at mid-on.

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Sniffing a chance, Zampa gave more flight to the next delivery but Pandya got under it to almost hit the roof of the stadium. He reached fifty, off 48 balls, with another six over long-on before making space to hit a third consecutive six through the same region. Ultimately, he departed trying to bat Zampa out of the attack, throwing away the chance to score his first ODI century.

But he was clearly not done for the day, throwing the spanner in Australia’s wheel by picking the all-important wicket of Smith due to a brilliant catch by Jasprit Bumrah running back. He could have got him in the previous delivery but on appealing, DRS adjudged it otherwise.

Head’s dismissal, foxed by a knuckle ball, was perfect example of how Pandya is slowly learning the tricks of the trade. A few more of such performances and Pandya could establish himself as the all-rounder India were in hunt of for some time now.