HITMAN’S HEROICS NOT ENOUGH
Paceman Jhye Richardson took 4/26 as Australia finally gave their fans something to smile about with a 34-run victory over India in the first ODI on Saturday despite a magnificent 133 from Rohit Sharma. It was only Australia’s fourth win in 20 ODIs going back to June 2017. The home batsmen, spearheaded by Peter Handscomb’s 73, posted a competitive 288/5 off their 50 overs and when India stumbled to 4/3 inside four overs, it looked like being a rout.
Rohit, who missed the final Test to go home for the birth of his first child, celebrated his return to the tour with a 138-run partnership with MS Dhoni (51) to get the innings back on track, however, and while he was batting, India had a chance.
Left-arm finger spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers with 2-54 but it was the Australian seamers who were
to leave the most decisive mark on t he contest. Debutant Jason Behrendorff removed Shikhar Dhawan in the first over and Richardson drove home the advantage by sending Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu back inside three balls.
Rohit, though, would not be cowed and he clubbed a huge six — one of six in his 129-ball innings — high into the member’s stand to move into the seventies before reaching the hundred mark for the 22nd time with two runs behind square. His celebration of a seventh ton against Australia was subdued as there was still plenty of work to do and once he holed out to Glenn Maxwell in the deep off Stoinis, the match was effectively over. Richardson also removed Ravindra Jadeja and Dinesh Karthik for his best bowling figures in ODIs and the tourists finished on 254-9.
“I’m very pleased,” said Finch. “The youngster Jhye is full of confidence and he’s got some pace.”
“We’re not very pleased with the way we played,” said Kohli. “That wicket was about 300-plus par. Rohit played outstandingly well and MS supported him but I thought we could have done better with the tempo of the game and we fell short.” The series resumes in Adelaide on Tuesday.
“I always feel him (Dhoni) batting at No. 4 will be ideal for the team. Rayudu has done really well now at No. 4, so it totally depends what the captain and coach think about it. Personally I would be happy if he (Dhoni) bats at No. 4. Today, losing another wicket at that point, the game would have been dead there and then. So, we had to play dot balls and build a partnership.”
When he came in: