India lost their first match of the series, falling to a 21 run defeat against Australia. The visitors scored 334-5 in the first innings after the openers dominated the proceedings, sharing a partnership of 231 runs where Finch scored 94 and Warner 124.
India were in the chase for a long time, but the middle order couldn’t finish the job. The home side won’t be too disappointed by the loss, given the small margin and the fact that they have already won the series.
A 3-2 score at the end of the series would hardly do justice to their efforts, and they will want to end with 4-1. Can the Australians end on a high, or will India regain their winning ways?
Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steven Smith (c), Kane Richardson, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb (wk), Travis Head, Ashton Agar, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Adam Zampa, Hilton Cartwright
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
Where the teams stand
Though they won the match, the Aussies repeated one key mistake from the last match. After getting off to a phenomenal start, they lost their way in the final stretch and missed out on posting a big score. 334 is a great total and the fact that the Indians couldn’t chase it adds to the point, but they scored 100 odd runs in the last 15 overs, a stage which usually sees much more. This is something they will want to focus on, carrying the momentum through to the end.
The Aussie bowlers did well to pile the pressure on the Indian batsman in the final stage of the match despite there being two set batsman on the crease. The required rate was above 10 for the last 5-6 overs, reducing it to a T20-like equation. They then dismissed Pandey, Jadhav, and Dhoni in a space of 15 runs to seal the match.
Credit to the bowlers for holding their nerve after Rahane and Sharma got off to another good start. Richardson scalped both, Jadhav and Dhoni, to provide the killing blow to the Indians, and deserves praise for his performance in this series since he was drafted into the first eleven (7 wickets in 3 matches).
Now they’ve done it once, the Aussies will have the belief and confidence to do it again, making them a dangerous threat to the Indians and one they will be wary of.
India should have won this match. They were in a good position for the longest time before they succumbed to the pressure and couldn’t get over the line. Not that they played badly, they still crossed 300, but the victory was agonisingly close to them. Except for Kohli, everyone chipped in with a good hand. Jadhav, who had been struggling with the bat recently also came good with a 67.
Perhaps the middle order was too slow with their run scoring, and the numbers suggest it, but the Australian bowlers maintained a consistent line and did not give the batsman many freebies. Still, the batsmen were more than happy to take the game down to the wire, a move that misfired this time.
Winning the series meant Kohli rested Kuldeep, Bhuvneshwar, and Bumrah, replacing them with Axar Patel, Shami, and Yadav. All three were expensive, especially the seamers, who looked rusty, which they were given that they haven’t played for India in a while. They were rested for the Sri Lankan series too and have been sitting out the first three ODIs. Still, one can’t blame Kohli for wanting to give them a game before the series ends. It didn’t work this time, and that’s okay as long as it does not become a recurring issue.
Kedar Jadhav bowled tight overs in the middle, and was the pick of all of them economically, a bright spot for India and something they might use more often. Overall, India treated this like a practice match and got the expected result. However, another loss would cast doubts on the team in a negative way, something Kohli and company will definitely want to avoid.
India bounce back and take the series 4-1.
Can Australia stop the rot, or will India keep their good run going? Let us know in the comments below.
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