Sydney : Another day, another hundred for Steve Smith as he brought up his 11th ODI which led Australia to victory against India. Australia go to the third ODI after securing the series 2-0.
This match seemed to be an action replay of the first ODI because Australia won the toss again and chose to bat. Their batsmen posted a total in excess of 350-plus again and they won the match.
For India, It has become a huge issue to get the early breakthrough in the opposition team and the problem was highlighted in not only today’s match where Finch and Warner posted 142 for the first-wicket stand but the recent ODI’s that they have played.
Trivia : first-wicket stands against India in ODI’s this year :-
258 vs Aus, 20 vs Aus, 18 vs Aus, 85 vs NZ, 93 vs NZ, 106 vs NZ, 156 vs Aus, 142 vs Aus.
These numbers are a worrysome sign for any Indian fan because in most of these ODI’s Bumrah and Shami, who are considered as one of the best bowlers in the world across formats, were a part of the team.
Smith has been in a completely different zone this series with the bat in hand where he timed nearly every ball and found gaps in the field at will. He actually continued from where he left off in the first game because he came to the crease in the 24th over and by the 40th over he had already reached his 62-ball hundred. He certainly loves playing against India and at his home ground in Sydney.
Trivia : Smith’s last five ODI’s vs India
104 (64), 105 (66), 131 (132), 98 (102), 69 (70).
Smith and Labuschagne gave a glimpse of how difficult they will be to bowl at especially in the test matches. The latter anchored his way to 70 off 61 deliveries while Smith was out there targeting every bowler during his innings. But, the icing on the cake was provided by Maxwell. His batting which is a mixture of innovation and power attracts millions of eyeballs and that is what, was on display when he came out to bat. He made 63 off just 29 balls hitting 4 fours and as many sixes.
India’s bowling leaked 389 runs in 50 overs and for the second time all of the bowlers have gone for runs. Saini did not complete his quota of 10 overs and only in the 7 overs that he bowled he gave away 70 runs while frontline bowlers Shami and Bumrah went for 152 runs in their 20 overs combined witha wicket each to their name.
The Indian openers, Dhawan and Mayank were quick off the blocks but they succumbed to Australia’s bowling. Virat was the only player who could have made the chase possible for India and he did look in good touch throughout the innings where there he built a partnership of 83 runs with Rahul. But, the scoreboard pressure where India were required to achieve a run-rate of 12 runs per over eventually got the better of the team. Virat was dismissed for 89 by a spectacular Moises Henriques catch and Rahul had to walk back after scoring 76.
If there had to be one positive sign for India it had to be Hardik, who bowled in an international match for the first time since the world cup last year. Though he is not fully fit to bowl at his usual speed but his all-round presence makes a difference in the team as he becomes the sixth bowling option for the captain and will potentially become the fifth when hes is completely fit.
Australia might have to drop Warner in the next match because he suffered a groin injury in the second innings and had to walk out of the field. Wade is the only batsman on the bench who can replace him in the third ODI because he can open the innings. India, who are currently on a five-match losing streak should give Natarajan an opportunity now that the series is not at stake.
Thank you for reading this blog and stay tuned for the next one.