Australia’s tour of India finally saw some sunshine as Aussies defeated India by 21 runs to register their first win of the series. The series which has seen one-sided cricket finally came alive with Australia picking themselves up after the disappointment of losing the first three matches, and bouncing back in style. India, after the high of winning the series and remaining undefeated in nine matches, couldn’t quite continue their winning streak and looked complacent for most part of the match.
Bengaluru has always been associated with high scoring games and this game was no different as Australia raked up 334 runs on the board and India got very close to complete the target. This series has seen enough turnaround from India, but on Thursday the men in blue fell short of their high standards and could be excused on the basis of trying out new things as the series was already decided in Indore.
1. Warner and Finch blasting Indian attack: David Warner and Aaron Finch have over the years given wonderful start to the Aussie innings, but in this series something was amiss. Finch, who had missed couple of one-dayers through calf strain, looked in pristine touch and continued where he had left off in the Indore ODI.
David Warner playing his 100th ODI finally came to the party as he scored his 14th hundred and added 231 for the first wicket in only 35 overs. Warner and Finch dissected the Indian attack and went about their business very smartly. They were also helped by inconsistent Indian bowling which bowled too many loose balls and were not at their best. The dynamic duo set the stage and baggy greens would have hoped that this could have match or two earlier.
2. Indian bowling lacking teeth: India in this inconsequential game decided to rest Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav and brought in experienced pair of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. Axar Patel also made a return to the side and from the outset it looked something was lacking as the bowling gave too many freebies to Warner and Finch and lost the momentum in the beginning.
Shami and Yadav were understandably looking rusty and even though India bounced back in the last 15 overs by conceding only 104 runs, the target proved too steep and either Kumar or Bumrah should have played to lend solidity to the attack.
3. Rohit Sharma’s blitzkrieg and Virat Kohli’s lean run: India started off chase in style with taking on Aussie attack and added 106 runs for the first wicket, with Sharma effortlessly hitting five sixes before Sharma was involved in a mix up with skipper Virat Kohli and his innings was cut short at 65 via brilliant fielding from Australian captain Steven Smith.
Virat Kohli in this series has not looked quite himself and again got out for just 21 runs and it proved a big hurdle as India’s ‘chase master’ was not there in the end to see off the chase. India still got close, but missed the vital contribution from Indian captain.
4. Did Dhoni come too late: India in this series have shown immense faith in Hardik Pandya and he once again played really well. Alongside Kedar Jadhav they added 78 runs for the fourth wicket to stabilise the chase. The chase was looking on track and then suffered a mini collapse of sorts as India lost Jadhav and Pandya in quick succession.
Did Manendra Singh Dhoni come too late? India definitely missed a trick as MS Dhoni batted too low at number seven and never really got a chance to get settled before playing shots. Dhoni in recent past has received a lot of flak for not finishing games, but in this match he came with only 26 balls remaining in the innings.
5. Australia showing their class: In every match during this series Australians have been in with a shout, but couldn’t quite finish the job. The team played really well and executed most of their plans and with batsmen complementing bowlers it was a case of doing the basics right.
Steven Smith had put emphasised on doing the basics right and putting pressure on opposition and the bowlers led by Patrick Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile nailed the yorkers really well and Aussies bowled well as a unit. Australia would hope that they can continue this momentum in the final ODI at Nagpur and round off the series with 3-2 margin.