AUSTRALIA’S reserve pacemen, led by Jhye Richardson, left, have stunned India’s top order in the opening ODI of the series in Sydney.
AUSTRALIA gave India a little taste of the torture they have been going through for the past nine months when they pulled off a stunning victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground last night.
Slammed relentlessly 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 carried away, Shane Warne and Mark Waugh have called for Glenn Maxwell to be 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 five deliveries 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 had 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.”
Australia’s middle order made runs but none went on to make the 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 (47no) ensured their own survival at a time self-preservation is the order of the day amid the constant chopping and changing of selections.
Australia did not hit a six until the 44th over and finished with just four for the innings, while Sharma cleared the ropes six times after MS Dhoni made a pedestrian 51 off 96 balls.
A week ago Virat Kohli’s men were dancing on the same hallowed turf, but are now embroiled in their own firestorm.
Two Indian players, Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul, have been suspended for making sexist remarks about women on a TV chat show.
Indian cricket officials have been accused in the past of being too lenient on star players but acted swiftly this time by booting the pair home to face charges of misconduct and indiscipline.
India’s combative skipper moved quickly to distance himself from his disgraced teammates.