Australia dominate, take series against India
The current India bowling attack has often been rated highly by pundits. But their reputation has gone for a toss in the ongoing ODI series in Australia.
For the second time in as many matches, the Australian batsmen toyed with the Indian attack as the home team registered a 51-run win in Sydney on Sunday. With an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, Australia have successfully dented India’s confidence in what is going to be a testing tour.
Steve Smith (104 off 64 balls) was once again outstanding and, along with David Warner (83), captain Aaron Finch (60) and Glenn Maxwell (63 not out), plundered runs on a flat track at the SCG. In a way, Australia out-batted India putting up 389/4 in 50 overs. In the last match, Australia had got 374/6 batting first.
India began well in reply and even had wickets in hand in the last 20 overs or so. More importantly, captain Virat Kohli (89) was looking good and his deputy, KL Rahul (76), was getting his shots right.
But Moises Henriques took a blinder at mid-wicket to deny Kohli of what would have truly been a well deserved hundred. That was a massive shot in the arm for Australia even though India still stayed in the hunt with the fifth-wicket partnership between Rahul and Hardik Pandya.
But both batsmen, particularly Hardik, played out too many dot balls as the required rate kept mounting.
The Australian bowlers, Pat Cummins (3/67), Hazlewood (2/59) and Henriques (1/34) — coming in for the injured Marcus Stoinis — bowled the correct length that stifled India further.
In the end, India reached 338/9 in 50 overs and still found themselves well short of the target.
“Look at the scoreboard, we got 340 and still fell short by 50 odd, so the chase always felt steep and we knew one or two wickets would take the required rate to up and so we had to keep hitting,” captain Kohli lamented at the post-match presentation.
Cummins bowled as many as 32 dot balls, followed by Hazlewood (29), Adam Zampa (22) and Henriques (17). Henriques, especially, kept things in check at a time when the Kohli-Shreyas Iyer pair was threatening to pull India back into the match.
In contrast, the Indian bowlers left a lot to be desired. “We were completely outplayed. I think with the ball, we were not that effective. We didn’t hit the areas we wanted to consistently,” Kohli said.
David Warner’s participation in the remainder of the limited-overs series against India was thrown into doubt after he suffered a groin injury during the second ODI at the SCG on Sunday.
Warner hobbled off the field after he struggled to get up following a dive in the fourth over of the Indian innings. A car waited outside the SCG to take the Australia opener to a nearby hospital for undergoing scans.
Asked about Warner’s condition, Australia skipper Aaron Finch said he was not aware of its severity but didn’t expect the southpaw to be available very soon. “We’ve got to reshuffle it around, I don’t think he’ll be available,” Finch said.