ATUL KUMAR MAURYA | 27th November 2020

A s it was time for the much-anticipated battle between the two modern-day great cricketing behemoths, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. Australia taking on India Down Under has always been a thriller, and this match was no different. In their rehashed version of the World Cup ’92 strip, India tried their best to be at their vintage best but it was Australia who gained the upper hand and eventually the bragging rights after a phenomenal performance in the first encounter of the tour.

A tale of two innings, swashbuckling and some brilliant bowling from the Aussies later, it was men against boys as the Indians were made to look like the latter.

Here are the hits and misses from today as Australia beat India by 66 runs in the first ODI of the series.


A lesson in destructive batting from the Aussies

David Warner had a fine IPL and he continued with the same vigor, attacking from the very start. But it was the Australian assets from the IPL who weren’t at their best who stole the show this time around. Aaron Finch started in jittery fashion, the same way he played throughout the tournament in UAE. But as the innings progressed, Finch started to show his class as he brought up his century and played a captain’s knock to set up the stage for the incoming batsmen.

And the next batsman in line proved all his doubters wrong how he knows best: by blocking the noise and proving once again why he is simply unplayable on his day. Steve Smith needs no further introduction and by hitting each and every bowler like it’s child’s play, he really needed no invitation to do what he was born to. With 11 fours and 4 sixes, Smith showed the world why he’s one of the greatest Australia has ever produced.

And then to put the icing on the cake, Glenn Maxwell justified his finisher’s role with a 19-ball 45 to help the Aussies reach 374 for 6 in their 50 overs. Some batting performance from the hosts.

Hazlewood and Zampa: Double Trouble

Josh Hazlewood is the man for every occasion. His bowling style and technique is a throwback to Glenn McGrath and he is one of the biggest assets Australia have to show their bowling line up. Varying his pace and bounce with precision, Hazlewood got the better of the Indian top-order and put India under jeopardy after a ferocious start.

After the lanky pacer’s brilliant spell, Zampa picked up the pieces and got the work done from the other end. Hardik Pandya did take him to the cleaners but Zampa bounced back beautifully and showed his class with 4 wickets in his quota of 10 overs.


Enter Hardik Pandya: The Batsman

Everyone was skeptical when Hardik Pandya was selected as the No. 6 batsman. But boy did he prove his worth in the role. When India were 4 down and looking down and out of the game, Pandya came in to steady the ship with Shikhar Dhawan.

Dhawan continued in the same vein as in the IPL but it was Mumbai Indians talisman who stole the show. Starting cautiously, Pandya attacked the loose balls at first. As his innings progressed, he justified his selection as the 6th batsman, smashing the Aussie bowlers to all parts.

For a moment, Pandya made the impossible look possible for India. As he was looking to up the ante, the flamboyant Mumbaikar missed the century-mark by just 10 runs. But his innings made his intent clear for the upcoming matches to come.

A statement knock.


India and wayward bowling: It’s a match!

As the title suggests, you’d think India and their abysmal bowling matched on a dating app the way they went hand-in-hand with one another. Unfortunately, this was a match made in hell. While Mohammed Shami started the proceedings in fine fashion, bowling in the channel and causing trouble to David Warner, the Indian fan’s enthusiasm, much like the Men in Blue’s boisterous start to the bowling was short-lived.

As the game progressed, the Indian bowlers looked out of sorts as they kept bowling shorter lengths which were easily put away by the Australians who were in a murderous mood or so it seemed. The spinners were expected to turn things around as they always are but they too were off their mark and conceded too many runs in the process. Simply put, the bowlers who were brilliant throughout the IPL didn’t turn up when it was needed for their national side.

Apart from Shami, everyone had a day to forget and after this outing, Kohli may look to tweak a few things in the upcoming ODI.

The Indian batsmen are still hungover from the IPL

The Indian top-order showed the glimpses of their T20 form but failed miserably when they were expected to play sensibly. After starting the innings in bossy fashion, Mayank Agarwal threw his wicket away by playing an unnecessary shot. Virat Kohli was then expected to reciprocate what Finch did for his side. While the Indian skipper did look in sublime touch, just like Aggarwal, threw his wicket away while trying to take the attack to the opposition.

Shreyas Iyer’s first ball looked elegant and the next one was the polar opposite as he played a horrific shot to give away his wicket. KL Rahul was expected to play sensibly after a brilliant IPL but he too got out while trying to accelerate on a looping full-toss by Zampa.

It was evident that the lot still hadn’t moved forward from the T20 mindset from the IPL and they will need to change their approach in the next match if they are to get results.

Saini Out, Kuldeep In

Kuldeep Yadav is one Indian bowler who has been a gamechanger against the Australians on many occasions throughout his career. Kohli could’ve gambled with the spin twins by picking Kuldeep in tandem with Chahal for the deadly duo to work their magic. Going with the option of Saini did bring in the extra pace option but as the Aussies have always been comfortable against raw pace, Kuldeep could have been the wildcard that could have given the team that extra edge.

Food for thought going into the next ODI.