India chased 288 runs in the first of the three-match ODI series with Australia, but lost by 34 runs on Saturday. The series is off to an upsetting start for the men in blue as the hosts defended their score, managing to fell 9 wickets and register their 1000th ODI win at the Sydney Cricket Stadium.
Despite Rohit Sharma scoring a whopping 133, Australia was able to secure a 1-0 lead in the series, aided by Jhye Richardson’s 4-wicket-haul along with Peter Handscomb’s 73. This comes right after the test series between the two cricketing rivals ended in 2-1 in India’s favour.
Australia made50 in 11.3 overs and lost only 5 wickets by the end of 50 overs. Apart from Handscomb, Usman Khawaja (59) and Shaun Marsh (54) all registered half-centuries, while Marcus Stoinis (47 not out) helped Australia set a competitive total on a slow pitch.
Richardson, who produced his career-best figures of 26 for 4, was later awarded the Man-of-the-Match title for turning up the pressure on Indian batsmen. With bowling stalwarts like Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins rested after the Test series, Richardson registered the best return of his young international career in just 10 overs at the SCG.
How did Indian batsmen fare?
Sharma did not get much support from the rest of the batting order, except for MS Dhoni (51) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (29 not out) who produced the only scores of note and helped take India’s score forward. The former Indian ODI captain also registered 10,000 ODI runs during Friday’s match. By the end of 50 overs, India had accumulated a total of 254 runs.
Sharma’s 133 off 129 balls includes his 22nd ODI ton off 110 deliveries, but the performance while admirable was largely in vain, as his partners Shikhar Dhawan (0), Virat Kohli (3) and Ambati Raydu (0) returned to the pavilions without any significant contribution to boot. At the end of ten overs, India’s score card read 21/3. Pacer Mohammed Shami confronted the mighty task of chasing 50 runs in the last two overs but was caught by Glenn Maxwell off Marcus Stoinis.
Man of the match: Jhye Richardson
Jhye Richardson who was playing just his fourth one day international on Saturday said he will cherish Kohli’s wicket but Australia’s win is more special to him. Besides claiming the wickets of Raydu and Kohli, Richardson was also responsible for truncating Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja’s stints on the crease.
“They [India] are a quality side. Credit to India as they gave us a run for our money in those middle overs. For a period they had the game under control. When you have a team three down early, it becomes difficult to bounce back,” Richardson said after accepting his man-of-the-match award.
“As a bowling unit, we are clear about our plans, doing our homework and research, being professional out there. I think it was about assessing the conditions more than anything else. I didn’t need to bowl the slower balls earlier but felt like bashing the wicket was quite difficult to score off. In the end, it became easier to bowl the slower deliveries as the ball got softer,” Richardson added.
With the second match between the cricketing champions set for Tuesday in Adelaide, it remains to be seen if India can reverse this fortune or whether Australia will hold on to their lead with another competitive performance.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius
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