India defeated Australia by five wickets in the first of the three-match ODI series, which was held in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on 17 March. Chasing a target of 189 runs, India initially experienced collywobbles after early setbacks, albeit a KL Rahul half-century and a commendable supporting act from Ravindra Jadeja helped them take the lead in the series.
The target looked modest at best, on what is considered among the more batting-conducive surfaces in the country, but India did manage to spark excitement into the game with a substandard start to their innings.
Ishan Kishan will only have himself to blame if he is demoted to the bench in the second match, as opening the innings in Rohit Sharma’s absence, he let the opportunity go begging by losing his wicket in only the second over.
Virat Kohli was seen at his usual rhythm in the last Test, but the change of formats brought about a change in fortune, as he departed after scoring only four runs. To make matters worse, the curious case of Suryakumar Yadav not turning up in ODIs had another extension, with India's T20 superstar going back with a golden duck in the same over.
Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya accumulated 23 crucial runs for the fourth-wicket stand before the former’s rearguard came crashing, with Starc enlisting the third name on the list of batters he got the better of.
Reeling at 39/4, India needed someone to steer the ship responsibly, and by doing so, Hardik Pandya yet again made a case for himself as the number one candidate to become the next captain of the side. He scored a 31-ball 25, before eventually falling prey to a Marcus Stoinis bouncer.
That, however, proved to be the last instance of the hosts being concerned in this match, as KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja took the team over the line. In a knock where he had to face challenges aplenty, with wickets falling at regular intervals at the other end, Rahul did an exceptional job in recording his 13th ODI half-century. He remained unbeaten on 75 runs off 91 deliveries, with Jadeja scoring a 69-ball 45.
Pacers Help India Restrict Aussies to a Paltry Total
Earlier, an excellent bowling display helped India bowl out Australia. for a paltry score of 188 runs. The visitors were pegged back from the very beginning, with Travis Head, who looked in decent nick during the Test series, losing his wicket in only the second over. In an attempt to drive a Mohammed Siraj delivery towards the advertisement ropes, the left-handed batter ended up dragging the ball onto his stumps.
The second-wicket stand between Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith, however, helped the visitors get back into the game. The former struck three boundaries off Siraj’s bowling to mark the commencement of the Australian comeback, as the Indian pacers were at the receiving end of experience and expertise for the next few minutes.
Pandya took the responsibility of providing India with a breakthrough on his shoulders, and in the 13th minute of the match, he was successful in his sortie. Then batting on 22 runs, Smith edged a delivery straight into the safe palms of KL Rahul – subsequently losing the battle of the leaders.
Marsh, however, remained undeterred. The all-rounder recorded his 14th ODI half-century with a boundary off Kuldeep Yadav’s bowling in the 18th over, whilst in the wrist spinner’s next over, he struck a four and a six.
With their scoring rate being north of six runs per over, it seemed that Australia will make it to the 300-run mark, but it remains a ‘could have been’ story, as Marsh’s dismissal in the next over triggered a batting collapse.
Mitchell Marsh’s Departure Trigged a Batting Collapse
The first to follow Marsh on his way back to the dressing room was Labuschagne. Whilst statistics will credit Kuldeep Yadav for dismissing the industrious batter, the Indians who were at the Wankhede Stadium today will always be in awe of Jadeja’s exemplary fielding effort to complete the catch.
Barring his bowlers, Pandya should also be applauded for his astute bowling alterations, as the re-introduction of Mohammed Shami resulted in the dismissal of Josh Inglis, who was looking in ominous touch.
All-rounder Cameron Green had a reprieve when his catch was dropped by Shubman Gill, but he ended up returning the favour by departing soon after, with Shami adding another wicket to his tally. Mirroring the same sequence, Marcus Stoinis also ended up ‘doing a Green.’
In only the first delivery he faced, Stoinis edged the ball to Gill at slip, but the young Indian opener dropped yet another chance. Gill, however, was third time lucky as he had another chance just 12 deliveries later, and this time around, Stoinis did take the long walk back to the pavilion.
Glenn Maxwell’s departure in the next over off Jadeja’s bowling marked the exhaustion of Australia’s batting options, while the next two wickets fell in a span of only four runs.