Richard­son turns ta­bles on In­dia in morale-boost­ing win for Aus­tralia

Cricket up­date

Fiji Sun - - Sport - Aus­tralian crick­eter Jhye Richard­son.

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

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