The action will now shift to the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata where India will take on Australia for the 2nd ODI. The first game had the hosts deep in trouble but they managed to script a terrific comeback to clinch it comprehensively at the end. The visitors will now be itching to get off the mark in the series.
The Chennai encounter saw a rare top-order collapse for India as they were down to 87/5. But the crisis man MS Dhoni joined hands with the charismatic Hardik Pandya as the duo bailed the side out of trouble and boosted the score to a substantial 281. The bowlers then stood up and did the job clinically in a curtailed target.
On the other hand, the Australian pacers dominated early on with immaculate lines and put the opposition on the back foot. But somehow, the pressure button was released soon and the team was found chasing the 9 ball. Steve Smith mentioned that chasing 164 in 21 overs with new balls at either end wasn’t going to be easy. But it was the lack of application of the batsmen and the consistency of Indian bowlers that snatched the victory from them.
The Australians, being aggressive naturally, would come hard in the next game. But more than the 2 teams, it’s the weather of Kolkata that has been making the headlines. The teams were forced to practice indoors and the whole ground remained under covers due to rain. There are chances that it will be a shortened game if the rain gods permit at all.
Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey fell to the trap outside the off stump by Nathan Coulter-Nile. Rohit Sharma too was troubled early on but he fell to a short ball ultimately. Kedar Jadhav played well but the adrenaline rush led to his downfall. 87/5 proved to be a blessing in disguise as it showed India can recover if the top-order fails. Dhoni was at his usual best and Pandya keeps climbing the ladder of success.
The bowlers had a pleasant time. Both the pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah bagged one wicket apiece without conceding too many. Pandya shone with the ball too as he claimed a couple. The biggest plus point was the performance of the 2 wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav who picked up 3 and 2 wickets respectively. There doesn’t seem to be any possibility that Kohli would want to tinker with the winning combination.
Batting under overcast conditions against 2 new balls made life difficult for the batsmen as Hilton Cartwright, Steve Smith and Travis Head failed to trouble the scorers a lot. David Warner scored 25 but it wasn’t the most fluent knock from him. The best batsman turned out to be Glenn Maxwell who scored 39 but the urge to send the spinners out of the park every ball led to his downfall.
The bowlers began beautifully with Coulter-Nile removing the top 3 in no time. The tight lines outside off worked pretty well as Stoinis too chipped in with 2 wickets. But once Dhoni and Pandya constructed a partnership, there wasn’t any threat posed by any of the bowlers. It won’t happen every time that half of the strong Indian line-up would be back in the hut so early and hence, it will be considered as a golden chance missed by Australia.
Players to watch out for
The Indian opener has a tremendous record against Australia. He has 5 centuries to his credit against the Aussies and once again, he would love to dominate the World Champions. In the previous match, he was looking good for a while but threw his wicket away just when he had got his eye in. His recent form has been magnificent and it will be difficult for the opposition to keep him quiet for long.
The Australian skipper failed miserably in the first game as he scored just 1 run. He had expressed his desire to do well in India and this is the moment he would love cash on. He was the team’s best batsman in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year and he would be hoping for a repeat of something of that sort.
India: Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
Australia: David Warner, Hilton Cartwright, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Travis Head, Matthew Wade (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins