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Whacked at Wankhede! Australia beat India comprehensively by 10 wickets and 74 balls to spare

Despite it being a working day, Mumbaikars took time out of from their busy schedules and thronged to the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday in the hope of a good contest between the two top teams in world cricket. They hoped for an India ODI win here finally after two consecutive defeats (in 2015 and 2017). None of their wishes came true.

India had their trump pacer Jasprit Bumrah back and an in-form Mohammed Shami as well but it still wasn’t enough to manage any breakthroughs as Australia comprehensively beat Virat Kohli & Co by 10 wickets and 74 balls to spare, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. It was only the second time, after the drubbing by South Africa at Eden Gardens in 2005 that India have lost an ODI by 10 wickets on home soil. Overall, it was India’s fifth 10-wicket loss in one-dayers.

On the other hand, the win was Australia’s fourth in a row against India, following their three victories in the ODI series last year. For, Team India that prides itself in dominating most teams, this brutal humiliation, that too in their own backyard, must hurt.

David Warner jumps in the air to celebrate his 100 against India
David Warner jumps in the air to celebrate his 100 against India

Absolutely nothing went in favour for the Indian bowlers as Australian skipper Aaron Finch (110 not out) and David Warner (128 not out) put up their third 150-plus stand against India to chase down the modest 255-run target in just 37.4 overs. The Aussie openers negotiated yorkers, short deliveries, slower balls, wrong uns and everything else that was thrown at them with marvelous authority. Meanwhile, the lack of any breakthroughs seemed to upset the Indian bowlers and their discipline began to take a beating too, leading to as many as 20 extras (4 byes, 7 leg-byes, and 9 wides).

India opener Shikhar Dhawan, who top scored for his side with 74, said it was an off day for the Men In Blue. “We will analyse where we went wrong and mentally work on that. Tomorrow’s a new day, so we will get ourselves back and get the positivity going. We have been playing some very good cricket the whole year, so one bad day in the office is fine. We know we are a strong team and will get back stronger,” Dhawan said at the post-match press conference.

Though Dhawan and KL Rahul (47), at No. 3, scored 134-1 in the first 27 overs, the next 22.1 overs were a disaster for the hosts, who lost nine wickets for 121 runs.

In the space of 34 balls, India lost four wickets—Rahul, Dhawan, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer—a factor that Dhawan said hurt his team the most. “KL got out. At that time we had planned to accelerate and those four wickets we lost…that’s where we lost the momentum. It changed the game for us. From there, we were targeting 300 runs but after the loss of wickets, we ended up scoring less on that sort of a wicket. Then we could not take early wickets. They outplayed us,” said Dhawan.

Warner was full of praise for his partnership with Finch that is growing from strength to strength. “We complement each other on the field and we’re great mates off it too.
We know each other’s game and personalities so well that now we can have honest conversations out there. If we’re playing shots that we shouldn’t, we simply reassure each other about that,” said Warner.

Rishabh Pant under observation for concussion

Rishabh Pant was struck in the 44th over after a Pat Cummins bouncer took the leading edge and hit him on the helmet before being caught by Ashton Turner. Pant did not take part in the training session during the innings break. “Rishabh Pant has got a concussion after being hit on his helmet while batting. He is under observation at the moment. His progress will be tracked overnight. A specialist has been consulted and an update will be given accordingly,” a BCCI statement said.

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