George Bailey’s men did not release their stranglehold on the contest subsequently. Australia coasted home by 31 runs on Wednesday in the first KFC twenty20 international at a packed Olympic Park Stadium to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Replying to Australia’s 171 for four – the host was interleave – India finished at 140 for six. The second game will be played in Melbourne on Friday. Neither the initiation of youth nor the slow nature of the pitch made a difference to the Indian fortunes. Worse, apart from a brave unbeaten 48 from skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni there was hardly any fight; the Indian batting surrender.
A large crowd of 59,659 included a sizable number of Indian supporters. They returned back a disappointed lot. The Aussies have hunted as a pack on the field – the side spine with violence and purpose. Pressure was created from both the ends, the fielders attacked the ball and the catching in the deep was sure.
Aging warhorse, Lee has operated keenly and the 40-year-old left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg bowled beautifully; the right-handers struggled to pick the one spinning and zipping into them. Dhoni is right – age is only a number.
Virat Kohli perished to a pull off Hogg, Rohit Sharma was done in by a liberation that turned sharply into him by David Hussey and Suresh Raina’s attempted slog off paceman Daniel Christian only resulted in his stumps being rearranged.
Hussey was unexpectedly effective with his off-spinners – Gautam Gambhir was picked up at covers off his bowling – while left-arm spinner, Xavier Doherty was steady. Dhoni waged a lone battle – a couple of typically flourishing wrist blows sailed over the ropes – but received little support from the frontline batsmen.
Pronounced Man of the Match, wicket-keeper batsman Wade was the cynosure during his 43-ball 72. His batsmanship has the spirit of adventure. The explosive left-hander reminds one of Sanath Jayasuriya with his fierce short-arm jabs.
The opener also displayed the ability to hit the ball enjoyably straight with an easy swing of the willow. Wade also used his feet to convert length.
Ravindra Jadeja experience as Wade waded into his bowling. When there was a hint of voyage from Jadeja, the ball disappeared over the wide long-on fence. And when a lacklustre Praveen Kumar blunders in length, Wade responded with a sizzling square-cut.
There has been plenty of deliberate here over the keeping out of Brad Haddin and the inclusion of Wade not just for the two twenty20 games but also Australia’s first three ODIs in the triangular series. Wade’s performance here is bound to put greater pressure on the under pressure Haddin. He walked back to a rousing ovation after being castled by a quicker ball delivered from round-the-wicket from Raina bowling off-spin.
Earlier, David Warner (25) began like a run-away train. The explosive opener was also innovating – a stunning switch-hit off Ravichandran Ashwin sailed over the extra cover fence. Soon the off-spinner was cruelly dismissed over the straight-field.
Just when Warner emerges set to cause further damage, he miscued a fuller length ball from Vinay Kumar. The medium-pacer varied his speed and mixed his length capably. In the final make bigger of the innings, the relaxed David Hussey (42) delivered a few weighty hits with an attic blow over the long-off rope off Rahul Sharma standing out.
Rahul ultimately sent back Hussey in the final over with a liberation that spun just a shade. The leg-spinner with a high-arm action relies on bounce and bowls stump-to-stump. He took a painful blow on his fingers when the left-handed Travis Brit strike one back with brutal force – Rahul was forced to leave the field – but returned to bowl with a fair measure of composure and accuracy.
But this was a night when the Indian bowling lacked committment; there were a few errors on the field as well. A steady drizzle when the Indians bowled – proceedings had to be briefly intermittent – did not help matters either. The spinners had difficulty spellbinding the ball.
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