HITMAN’S HERO­ICS NOT ENOUGH

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES SPORT - — Ro­hit Sharma

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.”

Bat­ting po­si­tion:

When he came in:

Bat­ting po­si­tion:

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