Rohit Sharma’s Rare Failure, Shikhar Dhawan’s Teen Hundreds & More – India Vs Australia

Observations from India’s dominant and rare win over Australia at the Oval today.

1. Attacking the non-strike bowlers helped India thrash Starc too :

Image Credit: Twitter.

India gave an execution of their perfect batting game plan. The openers made a watchful start. However, they were helped by the lack in depth of Australian bowling. Almost as soon as Starc and Cummins were replaced by first Coulter-Nile and then Zampa, the pressure released. It looked uncharacteristic of Zampa to be bowling all over the place, and once that template was set, the later overs too turned that way, with Starc in particular struggling to find either the yorkers or the wide-outside-off line.

2. Rohit Sharma’s rare failure to make good on his start.

A recent piece in ESPNCricinfo by Himanish Ganjoo analysed Rohit Sharma’s batting, providing data that getting him out under 15 was the best bet for opposition teams to stop him. Today he made 57, batting quite fluently. However, in a rare occasion, he failed to go on to make a 100 after hitting 50. Since May 2013, he has 28 fifties and 21 hundreds. That means, more often than not, when he crosses 50, he goes on to make a century. Today was one of those instances he didn’t.

3. Kohli overcomes a scratchy start:

As soon as Virat Kohli came in, the Australian quicks started their plan of bowling wide outside the off stump to him, in order to get him to nick one behind. They had obtained success through this route in the series in India earlier this year. In India’s first match of the World Cup against South Africa, Andile Phehlukwayo dismissed him in a similar fashion.

Kohli was 5 off 15, having played six deliveries off Adam Zampa and all-but-two deliveries off the pacers that he’d faced were way outside off. 12th ball, he slashed hard at a delivery from Pat Cummins, which went for four. That settled him down a bit and he never looked back from there on.

4. Dhawan’s Teen Hundreds A Minor Blip:

Image Credit : Twitter.

Of Shikhar Dhawan’s 17 ODI centuries, 11 are under 120. His highest score is 143. Among India’s top three, he is the only one with a lack of daddy hundreds. Something for him to aim for next, after having furthered his love affair with the Oval ground and ICC tournaments.

5. Hardik Pandya is a genuine fifth bowler:

On air, Sanjay Manjrekar mentioned that India have to think of something about Hardik Pandya the bowler. At that stage, Pandya had conceded 53 off his 8 overs. He’d go on to finish with 68 off his 10 overs. In a game with RRR just a tad over 7 per over, a bowler going at 6.8 is bowling fine. It must not be forgotten that he and Kedar Jadhav were meant to be the combination 5th bowler, but after Jadhav went for 14 off his 1 over, Pandya finished the 5th bowler quota by himself.

He also bowled with venom and spite on a flat deck. Keep aside his second over that went for 19 runs, and he conceded 49 off the other 9. He also hurried the Australian top order with sharp short balls. The snorter to Warner, which the batsman actually played well, was the highlight for me. Granted that Warner was scratchy today, but to leave a player as good as him smelling leather has to be special. Pandya will get better as the tournament goes. If there’s movement to be had, he will find it. And as he showed today, he can hurry the batsmen with bounce too.

6. Pigeon to Statue for Starc:

Mitchell Starc struggled in the absence of swing today. It must be said that the Indian openers blunted him well. But today was another instance of Starc being chained to his yorker, and not liberated by it, as Osman Samiuddin wrote poetically in ESPNCricinfo. He struggled to find the yorker length, hitting it only 3 times across his 10 overs. That, and watchful batting at the start and smart manipulation of the field at the death by Indian batsmen meant he ended with just one wicket for 74 today, quite a low from his fifer-high against the Windies. Some days you’re the pigeon, on others, the statue.

7. Overall Gains for India:

Image Credit : Twitter

Apart from the fact that they made some progress on a highly one-sided record against the Aussies in the World Cup (3-8 before today), India would be delighted to have every part of their team engine working like a charm today. There will be days when some of the cogs of this juggernaut creak, but if anything, this match showed that the team is improving. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Kuldeep Yadav, two players who had been struggling for consistency before the tournament, bowled beautifully today. Check out this nugget from CricViz :

Hardik, as mentioned above, finished 10 overs. Even the suspect middle order came to the party today. The test against the Blackcaps might turn out differently if the top-3 struggle to lay a solid platform, but the sheer variety in both batting and bowling stocks should hold Team India in good stead.

What are your thoughts on today’s match? Do you agree with the points made in this post? Kindly let me know in the comments section.

Featured image courtesy.

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