Aussies put acid back on In­di­ans

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - JU­LIAN LIN­DEN SYDNEY

AUS­TRALIA gave India a lit­tle taste of the tor­ture they’ve been go­ing through for the last nine months when they pulled off a stun­ning vic­tory at the SCG last night.

Slammed re­lent­lessly both on and off the field since the ball tam­per­ing scan­dal, the Aus­tralians showed how quickly for­tunes change when the blow­torch is taken off them and turned on their op­po­nents.

But be­fore Aus­tralia gets too car­ried away, World Cup win­ners Shane Warne and Mark Waugh have called for Glenn Maxwell to be im­me­di­ately pro­moted up the order after the Aussies al­most blew the deal .

Aus­tralia pinched the se­ries opener by 34 runs after an in­spired bowling performance by rookie pace­man Jhye Richard­son (4/26) and debu­tant quick Ja­son Behren­dorff (2/39), but al­most threw it all away un­til Maxwell took a catch in the deep to re­move the dan­ger­ous Ro­hit Sharma (133).

Maxwell faced just five de­liv­er­ies him­self after com­ing to the crease in the 48th over, bat­ting at No. 7 and while he made a quick 11 not out, ev­ery­one was left guess­ing what he could have got if he’d only been given more time.

“Maxwell should have faced more than five balls in a one­day in­ter­na­tional. He’s so dan­ger­ous,” Warne told Fox Cricket. Waugh, also com­men­tat­ing on Fox Cricket, agreed with his for­mer team­mate. “I don’t know about this bat­ting order,” he said.

Aus­tralia’s mid­dle-order all made runs, but none went on to make the re­ally big score that Sharma showed was pos­si­ble when you take a few cal­cu­lated risks.

Peter Hand­scomb (73), Us­man Khawaja (59), Shaun Marsh (54) and Mar­cus Stoi­nis (47 not out) en­sured their own sur­vival for now at a time when self-preser­va­tion is the order of the day amid the con­stant chop­ping and chang­ing of se­lec­tions.

Aus­tralia didn’t hit a six un­til the 44th over and fin­ished with just four for the en­tire in­nings, while Sharma cleared the ropes for India six times him­self after MS Dhoni made a pedes­trian 51 off 96 balls to en­cap­su­late India’s fall from race after the top-order col­lapsed.

Just a week ago, Vi­rat Kohli’s men were danc­ing a jig on the same hal­lowed turf, but are now em­broiled in their own firestorm.

Two In­dian play­ers, all­rounder Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul, have already been suspended for mak­ing sex­ist re­marks about women on a TV chat show that was aired at home.

The com­ments, which in­cluded boasts about hav­ing sex with mul­ti­ple women, have been greeted with out­rage in a coun­try already deal­ing with mas­sive protests about the way women are treated in India.

In­dian cricket of­fi­cials have been ac­cused in the past of be­ing too le­nient to­wards star play­ers who have stepped out of line, but have acted swiftly this time by boot­ing the pair out of the squad for the cur­rent se­ries in Aus­tralia and the forth­com­ing ODI tour of New Zealand.

They’ve also or­dered them to get on the first plane home to face charges of mis­con­duct and in­dis­ci­pline.

India’s skip­per moved quickly to dis­tance him­self from his dis­graced team-mates, con­demn­ing their ac­tions.

Kohli didn’t think the con­tro­versy would af­fect his re­main­ing play­ers, but not even he could lift their spir­its as they strug­gled to re­dis­cover their cocky swag­ger against a des­per­ate Aus­tralian team that knows all too well how quickly things can fall apart.

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