As Steven Smith lead Aussies from front to register their 15th consecutive ODI win defeating India convincingly by 5 wickets in the chase of 309 runs, Dhoni might have been left wondering why his team failed to open the series with a win at the flat track of Perth despite scoring India’s only second 300+ ODI score in Australia and that too 6 runs more than the 303 runs scored by Ganguly’s men in 2003 that saw them winning by 19 runs at Brisbane. Was it the defensive approach in batting and bowling? Or did Rohit Sharma and Kohli took too long to attack?
Two 200+ partnerships in one ODI match is a world record, while pairs from both teams added new records, but despite understanding that the track was a flat one and just 300 runs was not a good total, did Indian pair fail to peak up at the right time? It appeared they were too busy in saving the wicket as they were not sure whether to attack and see an Indian collapse or to try to stay longer and keep scoring even at a slower rate. But, it was clear in the end 309 was too less on the dead flat track. What stopped management to ask them to speed up at least immediately after the second drinks break? After all almost the same Indian team has already played 5 ODIs where both teams have scored 300+ runs and chased bigger totals successfully.
Bran has created doubts among Aussies. But soon Smith and Bailey were allowed to settle as spinners failed, Umesh could not convert good economy to wicket and for some reasons Bran was not brought back in the middle, and the field placements allowed Smith and Bailey to take easy runs. As a result they scored almost 9 boundaries less, added 35 runs more playing 4 balls lesser than the Indian pair.
Match Defeating Partnership vs Match Winning Partnership
While the partnership came up at the best time for India, still in the end it is not clear what stopped Rohit and Kohli to wait till so late to attack. India reached 200 runs only in 38.1 overs.
India were just 36/1 in 6.4 overs, while Aussies were 21/2 in 4.4 overs.
37.5 overs and 207 runs between Rohit and Kohli
37.1 overs and 242 runs between Smith and Bailey
22 fours and 7 sixes by Indian pair.
18 fours and 4 sixes by Aussie pair.
World Record two 200-run partnership in Match
With Dhawan returned to pavillion, India responded with the world record first-wicket partnership vs Australia of 207 runs between Rohit Sharma and Kohli in which they batted 37.5 overs. They had joined hands after first wicket fell in 6.4 overs.
Irony that Smith and Bailey joined hands at the score of 21/2 in just 4.4 overs. From there on both added 242 runs in 37.1 overs. Both scored centuries.
Both hit 18 fours and 4 sixes between them.
When ROhit Sharma and Virat Kohli were separated, Indians had a run rate of only 5.48, while they were left with only 5.3 overs. Overall they managed a good 83 runs in the last 10 overs, but then they had completed 200 runs only in 38.1 overs despite losing only 1 wicket.
Did they think bowlers can defend 300 on the flat track of WACA?
But, bowlers did impress, specially the three pacers. Debutant Barinder Sran picked three wickets and had 3/56 in 9.2 overs, B Kumar with 0/42 in 9 overs was the second most economical bowler of the match after 1/41 by Hazlewood. Even Umesh Yadav was very economical in his initial spells although his complete figure show 0/54 in 10 overs. It was the spinners and the way they were handled, which costed India the match. Indian heroes at home, Ashwin (2/68 in 9), Jadeja (0/61) with 0/13 from Kohli and 0/11 from Rohit costed India 153 runs in 21 overs they bowled.
It remains a mystery that why easy runs were given to Smith and Bailey during the middle overs and why was Barinder Sran not used despite appearing penetrative during the early stage. Aswin and Jadeja do not fail daily. But, it was not their fault on a flat Australian track where there was no help for any bowler.
Indians will hope that despite missing an easy chance to win the match today, management, captain and team will learn faster and give a good fight by winning some matches. To beat the best team in the world, there needs to be the best strategy and implementation too, and above all the confident attitude.
Rohit Sharma 171*, Dhawan 9, Kohli 91, Dhoni 18, Jadeja 10*
2/60 Faulkner, 1/41 Hazlewood
Aus 310/5 (49.2)
Finch 8, Warner 5, Smith 149, Bailey 112, Maxwell 6, Mitch marsh 12*, Faulkner 1*
Bran 3/56, Ashwin 2/68.