In Stats: Rohit-Rahane Shine After Spinners Strangle Australia
Take a look at the fifth ODI between India and Australia through numbers.
India regained the number one position in the ODI rankings after thrashing Australia by seven wickets in the fifth ODI in Nagpur on Sunday. With this win, India recorded a 4-1 ODI series victory over Australia.
Axar Patel was the pick of the bowlers for India as the home side restricted Australia to just 242/9 in their 50 overs.
Thereafter, Rohit Sharma’s innings of 125 runs from 109 balls propelled India to a massive win. The opener also went past 6,000 runs in ODIs.
Australia Clinch Early Honours
After opting to bat, Australia were off the blocks in a hurry with the opening pair of David Warner and Aaron Finch taking the Indian new-ball bowlers to the cleaners. The left-right pair pounced on the poor lengths bowled by the Indian pacers and collected the bulk of their runs in boundaries. By the time the first powerplay had ended, Australia had raced to 60 for no loss – with both openers looking good for a big score.
But once that pair was separated (Finch was dismissed in the 12th over), the wheels came off the innings in the middle overs. Eventually Australia barely managed to bat out their 50 overs.
Australia’s Struggles Against Spin Continues
On most days, a team – after scoring 60 for no loss in the first ten overs – would eye a total in excess of 300. Not this Australian team, who in recent times seem to have developed the bad habit of squandering good starts.
On Sunday, a well-documented problem surfaced. The Australian middle-order just couldn’t get going against the Indian spinners. Soon after the openers were separated, Virat Kohli handed the ball to Kedar Jadhav – possibly with the intention of getting a few quiet overs out of the way.
That move turned out to be a masterstroke as Jadhav ended up bowling ten overs (for the first time in his ODI career), and also dismissed the Australian captain Steven Smith cheaply. The dismissal of Warner – who chipped Axar Patel to the fielder at long-on – soon after, meant that Australia’s two best batsmen had fallen prey to spinners in a matter of minutes.
Credit to the Indian spin trio of Kuldeep, Jadhav and Axar for tying the Australian middle order. Particularly in the stretch between overs 21 and 30 – when Jadhav and Axar bowled in tandem – Team India were excellent; the scoring rate dropped to 3.60 runs per over in that period of ten overs.
Axar Derails Australia
Axar Patel – who landed the ball on the good line and good length area 73 per cent of the time – was the wrecker-in-chief for Team India.
His scalps on the day were of Warner, Peter Handscomb and Travis Head. Axar’s figures of 3-38 were his second-best figures in his brief-ODI career. He has now finished as India’s most-successful bowler in 5 of the 36 ODIs he has played in.
Openers Set-up India’s Reply
India’s chase was powered by the opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, who bettered the effort of their counterparts earlier in the afternoon. If Warner and Finch added 66, the two Mumbai lads fared better, adding 124 to set up India’s chase. It augurs well for India that the two Mumbai lads – despite being a stop-gap opening pair – have combined well.
They became the second Indian opening pair – after Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma – to stitch together 3 century opening partnerships in consecutive innings.
Positives For Team India
India winning the series 4-1 establishes that Team India were the superior team. And this, despite not playing several first-choice players. The Indian selectors and the team management will be delighted with the performances of some individuals.
Ajinkya Rahane gave a good account of himself as reserve opener (possibly putting the lid on the issue of reserve opener once and for all), Hardik Pandya showed that he could turn the course of the match – batting at number four, and the two spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – grabbed their opportunities.
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