Format changes, fortune doesn't
India's wait for a win on a horror tour to Australia continues as the visitors succumbed to a 31-run loss in the first T20 international at the Olympic Park Stadium here on Wednesday. Wicketkeeper batsman Matthew Wade belted a 43-ball 72 and a fine all-round show by David Hussey kept India winless in their last 15 international matches away from home (4 Tests in England, 5 ODIs and 1 T20, 4 Tests in Australia and 1 T20).
India sipper MS Dhoni opted to field first, with the forecasts of rain in mind. However, the ploy backfired on two counts. After the rain, India's spinners failed to grip the moist ball, and the pitch deteriorated ss the match progressed.
With a crowd of 59,659 watching on, David Warner and his new opening partner Wade started cautiously, before Warner cut loose in the third over of the innings.
Warner used the switch-hit to great effect and smashed third ball of Ashwin's second over into the stands. He hit a four off the next ball, before smashing another six off the next ball. Warner soon fell as he mishit a Vinay Kumar delivery. Suresh Raina held on to the skier, to give the hosts their first jolt.
Wade continued to blaze away at the other end, while Travis Birt also found the meat of the bat on a couple of occasions before he was dismissed by Ashwin.
Hussey then joined Wade and was particularly severe on part-timer Ravindra Jadeja, getting 17 runs off one over. Seamer Praveen Kumar was also hit to all parts of the ground and leaked 34 runs in his 3 overs.
Hussey showed his striking abilities as he hit Rahul Sharma for a massive six before rain forced the players off the field. In the second over after the rain delay, Raina bowled Wade, ending his fine innings which included 5 fours and 3 sixes.
Hussey then broke free and guided Australia to a competitive 171/4 before he was dismissed off the second last ball of the innings for 42 which included three hits over the fence.
Chasing 172, India suffered an early jolt when Virender Sehwag was back in the pavilion three balls into the innings. Brett Lee squared up Sehwag with a ball that was pitched up and found a thick leading edge to fly into the hands of first slip.
Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli then steadied the ship, guiding India to 46/1 before the former fell to Hussey.
Losing the plot
Kohli fell in the next over off Brad Hogg. Hussey then cleaned up Rohit Sharma to leave India tottering at 53/4, which soon became 72/5 when Suresh Raina was bowled by Dan Christian. Ravindra Jadeja was dismissed in Christian's next over to effectively end the chase with India at 81/6 in the 14th over.
Skipper Dhoni and R Ashwin then added an unbeaten 59 runs but it was academic as the match was already lost by then.
The wait continues.