Suryakumar Yadav, Mohammed Shami stake claim as India go 1-0 up against Australia
India vs Australia: Gill and Gaikwad's solid opening act sets up five-wicket win in 1st ODI.
Not quite the ease they would have been seeking but India will take a five-wicket win over Australia here on Friday as a good workout. The bowling was on point, the batting recovered after a mid-innings stutter but the message to the dressing room is loud and clear: If fielding and catching doesn’t improve then the World Cup could be a distant dream.
Led by the brilliant Mohammed Shami, who ended with a match haul of 5/51, and Jasprit Bumrah, India restricted Australia to 276 when they could have gotten past 300. The opening pair of Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaekwad was quick off the blocks, almost toying with the Aussie bowlers but one wicket led to another till India found themselves in a bit of a spot. When Gill fell to Adam Zampa, 26 short of what would have been a dream century in front of his home crowd, the game threatened to swing towards the visitors. But skipper KL Rahul (58*) and Surya Kumar Yadav (50) batted with the assurance coach Rahul Dravid was harping upon to round up the win.
This game could actually add to the headache of the Indian think tank. We know how the World Cup XI has been proposed and India would look at Bumrah and one from Shami or Siraj to possibly go with Hardik Pandya or Shardul Thakur. With Siraj decimating Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final and now Shami taking five wickets, selection could only get tougher from hereon.
Just when it looked Shami's bowling was fading, the swing specialist came up with a stellar showing in the scorching heat of Mohali. A wicket in his first over, followed by a slightly older ball that swung in a mile to castle Steve Smith, and then returning in the death overs---his perceived weakness---Shami used variations to send a strong message that he could be a match-winner in the World Cup.
Talking about his performance in the match and attributing his success to the team bonding with other pacers as well, Shami said, "We enjoy each other's success a lot. We have spent the last so many years together and this is a result of the same. When you operate with the new ball, you have the responsibility of finding the right line and length, set the tempo and that's exactly what I wanted to do today.
"There wasn't much the fast bowlers were getting out of the wicket so the slower deliveries were a good option to turn to. If they land in the right areas, the results can really go in your favour. It is important to mix things up. The team needed it and it's a good feeling to get wickets when you are putting in so much effort. It is good for the team and your own confidence," added Shami who removed Sean Abott, debutant Mathew Short and Marcus Stoinis who was looking dangerous at one stage.
Post a long lay-off, Bumrah has been exceptional too and Australia seemed wary of his bowling. India would be happy with his form. Today was also the first sighting of Ravichandran Ashwin and he looked decent without looking spectacular. Maybe the next game might see him bowl more attacking lines.