HIT AND RUNS

AUSSIE BATS FIRE, THEN BOWLERS LAND THE KILLER BLOW

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT - P50

AUS­TRALIA gave In­dia a lit­tle taste of the tor­ture they’ve been go­ing through for the past 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 ri­vals.

But be­fore Aus­tralia get 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 it.

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 they al­most threw it away un­til Maxwell took a catch in the deep to re­move the dan­ger­ous Ro­hit Sharma (133).

“We thought it was a com­pet­i­tive score and ob­vi­ously 288 is a com­pet­i­tive score,” Richard­son said. “Our prepa­ra­tion lead­ing up to this game was ab­so­lutely phe­nom­e­nal. Ev­ery­one was re­ally ex­cited to play this game and get into the retro kits.”

Maxwell faced just 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 made if given more time.

“Maxwell should have faced more than five balls in a one-day in­ter­na­tional. He’s so dan­ger­ous,” Warne told Fox Cricket.

Waugh, also com­men­tat­ing on Fox, agreed with his for­mer team­mate: “I don’t know about this bat­ting or­der.”

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

“I thought the part­ner­ship be­tween Khawaja and Marsh set us up and Pete Hand­scomb played a gem,” Aus­tralian cap­tain Aaron Finch said. “I thought Ja­son han­dled his nerves bril­liantly. And then the young­ster Jhye is full of con­fi­dence and he’s got a bright fu­ture ahead of him.”

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 af­ter two In­dian play­ers, all­rounder Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul, were 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.

The tourists’ com­bat­ive skip­per moved quickly to dis­tance him­self from his dis­graced team­mates, con­demn­ing their ac­tions and in­sist­ing they were not re­flec­tive of the team.

Kohli didn’t think the con­tro­versy would af­fect his re­main­ing play­ers, but not even he could lift their spir­its as they strug­gled.

“We’re not very pleased with the way we played,” Kohli said.

“I think we were fine with the ball. That wicket was 300-plus par.

“One more good part­ner­ship and we would have got close. But los­ing three wick­ets up front was the prob­lem and Aus­tralia were pro­fes­sional enough not to let us back in.”

Glenn Maxwell hits out dur­ing the first one­dayer against In­dia, and ( in­set) Jhye Richard­son cel­e­brates a wicket at the SCG yes­ter­day. Pic­tures: Getty Im­ages, AAP

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