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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

India vs Australia: India bowlers stamp influence to keep visitors in check

A maiden opening over, losing the captain nine balls into the innings and a terrible mix-up that almost ended in a wicket were signs of a cagey Australia despite coming off a T20 series win

cricket Updated: Mar 03, 2019 08:37 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hyderabad
Mohammed Shami (centre) celebrates the dismissal of Australia's Glenn Maxwell.
Mohammed Shami (centre) celebrates the dismissal of Australia's Glenn Maxwell. (PTI)
         

A maiden opening over, losing the captain nine balls into the innings and a terrible mix-up that almost ended in a wicket were signs of a cagey Australia despite coming off a T20 series win. An 87-run second-wicket partnership was what the doctor ordered, soothing the early nerves in the opening ODI against India.

However, Australia still finished on 236/7 after electing to bat, well below the par score considering they chose to bat on a pitch that offered little to bowlers although it played a bit slow.

Despite the effort they seemed to put in, Australia’s batting looked disjointed. Usman Khawaja gave a good account of himself with a fifty, Marcus Stoinis was in good touch and Glenn Maxwell came in at No 5 and scored a 51-ball 40 but none of them stayed on to shepherd the visitors to a big total. India were every part the top side in this format, bowling beautifully upfront and then stifling Australia with clever use of spinners in the middle overs.

With boundaries hard to come by, the visitors should have started rotating the strike more often. Failure to do so meant India bowlers had more time to clamp down, never letting Australia off the hook. That they could only add 103 runs in the last 120 deliveries after reaching 133/4 in 30 overs tells a story Australia’s batsmen won’t be proud of.

Kohli use of the bowlers too was praiseworthy. A tight eight-over opening spell between Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah gave Australia just 23 runs and plenty to ponder. Aaron Finch, the most experienced ODI player in the Australian team, didn’t have good memories of his 100th match as Bumrah did him in with a beauty delivered from wide that left the Australia captain by just that much to take an edge.

Khawaja and Stoinis pulled the team out of disarray even as Virat Kohli did his best to inflict a few more blows. By the 15th over India had pressed into service all six bowlers but it was more their own doing than the bowlers that Australia slipped again. Instead of taking full advantage of a Kedar Jadhav half-tracker, Stoinis slapped it straight to Kohli at short midwicket. Two overs later, Khawaja couldn’t resist the temptation of trying to hoick Kuldeep Yadav over midwicket boundary, but Vijay Shankar took a well-judged catch to leave Australia rudderless again at a time when they should have consolidated.

Most telling however was Maxwell’s dismissal. Australia were slow throughout the later half, adding just 25 runs in 30 balls after the 30th over, but Maxwell’s presence maintained hope that maybe the visitors were shaping up for a late bloom. However, Shami snuffed out that hope with a good length ball that went through Maxwell’s defence to castle him.

Alex Carey, brought in from the T20 side, gave a semblance of respect to the Australian score by scoring 36 off 37 balls. But the damage had already been done by then. When a team bowls 169 dot balls, there is nothing much the batting side can do.

First Published: Mar 02, 2019 19:17 IST

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