Carlton-Mid ODI series: Australia sneak home in a tense finish

Shashi / 18 January 2015

It was India’s first match today in the triangular series. The series has huge importance from India’s perspective as this is the best preparation they can get ahead of the World Cup tournament. Australia clinched a comfortable victory against England in the first game a day back. India had some injury issues initially as Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma have been suffering from fitness issues and they are likely to be rested throughout the tournament.

Initially, India opted to bat first. As obvious, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opened the innings for India while for Australia it was Mitchell Starc who started off the proceedings for them. And for yet another time, the opening partnership literally failed today as Dhawan was dismissed right in the first over of the day by Starc. India did not have a steady enough partnership as Rahane, who came in after Dhawan’s dismissal did not manage to stay at the crease for long and was dismissed at the score of 11 runs. Kohli followed him and was dismissed at the score of 9 runs. India were in definite spots of bother having 3 down at the score of 59 runs. So, a partnership was required and Raina and Rohit Sharma did the exact thing which the doctor ordered for India. Both of them played sensibly and at the same time kept the score card moving by taking singles and twos constantly. Also, Rohit Sharma was hitting boundaries at intervals which was easing things off for India to further extent. It was a 126 runs partnership between the two when Raina was caught in the mid on region by Maxwell. Raina scored a brilliant half century and he was dismissed at the score of 51 runs.

Meanwhile, Rohit carried on with his usual pace and completed his sixth international century. This was indeed a brilliant innings from him. He managed to score a total of 138 runs off 139 deliveries. This was perhaps the highest individual total by any player at the MCG. So, by all means, this innings was special.

Finally, India managed to set up a total of 267 runs on the board at the end of 50 overs. After being poised at the score of 185 runs at the end of 35 overs, India did not make it up to the mark in the last 15 overs.

In the chase, the Australians played brilliantly initially and played well. The first wicket fell for them at the score of 51 runs in the form of Warner. Watson came in next and he was blistering right from the start. He started smacking the bowlers and in no time Australia were completely dominating the game in their favour. After a 60 odd run partnership, it was Axar Patel who brought the breakthrough for India in the form of Watson and Australia were 115 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Steve Smith came in next and he played sensibly enough and there was yet another partnership being built between the two. After a hundred run partnership, Smith was dismissed and soon after that Finch was dismissed at the score of 96 runs. He was deceived by a swinger from Umesh Yadav and missed his century thus.

After that, India bounced back into the game with some brilliant overs being bowled by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Axar Patel. But Faulkner finished off things for Australia in a hurry and with a couple of boundaries the game was over with an over left to the game. Australia won the match by 4 wickets.

India plays England in their next game on Tuesday.

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