Richardson turns tables on India in morale-boosting win for Australia
Sydney: A masterful century from Indian maestro Rohit Sharma was not enough to get India over the line as Australia’s quicks successfully defended 288 thanks to a career-best four-wicket haul from Jhye Richardson.
Sharma’s 133 off 129 balls, his 22nd ODI hundred, was the glue to India’s chase but with MS Dhoni’s 51 the only other reasonable means of support, the Australians’ consistency from No.3 to No.6 with the bat was justly reflected in the final 34-run margin of victory.
Taking 109 off the last 10 overs was always going to be an almighty task for the tourists and it proved to be just that as Australia began 2019 in superb fashion to take a 1-0 series lead heading into Tuesday’s second match at the Adelaide Oval. Richardson finished with his best ODI figures of 4-26 off 10 overs and bowled with impressive pace and vigour. ”I’m ecstatic, I’m really excited for the team,” Richardson said. “Yes, it’s good to put a personal performance on the board but I’m really excited in the way Australian cricket is heading.
“We thought it was a competitive score. I thought we bowled well too.” Half-centuries from Usman Khawaja (59), Shaun Marsh (54) and Peter Handscomb (73), as well as an equally important 47 off 43 balls from Marcus Stoinis at the end, propelled Australia to a defendable total of 5-288 on a flat SCG track.
Before Saturday, India had fallen short just twice in their last 16 matches when batting second. Mowing down totals, big or small, has become a trademark of this Indian team.
The reality is there is nothing daunting anymore about a run chase of 289. In 1986, perhaps, but looking past the magnificent retro kits worn by the Australians on Saturday from that era, it was a very attainable score.
By the halfway mark of the chase, India, three wickets down at this stage, had not even cracked triple figures. While Dhoni had a strike rate to rival an NRL coach’s winning percentage, his partner, Sharma, kept ticking the scoreboard over.
“We were discussing how we could win the game,” Sharma said. “We wanted to build a partnership and it was crucial at that point ... we were under pressure.”
Richardson, speaking of Sharma, said: “He summed up the conditions just as well as we did. He batted very patiently and knew the balls he could put away and he