India in front of a whitewash
India vs Australia 2020-21: It was better, much better, but not good enough. Not nearly good enough from India. 390 runs were too much for the Indian side to chase. It was the second consecutive innings putten up in front of the Indian side. It was a good start by Dhawan and Mayank, but it’s the habit of losing wickets in bunches that India needs to rid themselves of.
Both the openers were gone soon, and despite good partnerships between Kohli and Iyer and then Kohli and Rahul, India failed to get even close to the mammoth target of 390. The pitch, which had slowed down considerably, did play a role in dragging the Indians back – particularly Hardik Pandya, who really struggled to get one out of the center today.
However, it was perhaps the catches that the Aussies took, those of Iyer and Kohli, that really made the difference. Instead, if one of Kohli, Rahul, or Iyer did carry on, who knows what might’ve been? At the moment, however, it’s Australia who has won this series 2-0 which no-one even thought this series will stand here. They are now in front of whitewash.
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At the post-match presentation, Kohli said-
“They have outplayed us. We were ineffective with the ball and didn’t hit the areas. They have a strong batting line-up, they know the conditions and the angles well. The chase felt steep, and one or two wickets would take the RRR up so we had to keep hitting. They took the chances that they created in the field, which was the difference. Hardik felt okay to bowl.
Initially just thought of trying for a couple of overs but he felt good and bowled a couple more. And he gave away a bit of a bowling plan with his off-cutters (smiles), but credit to them, they used the dimensions well. Even Rahul or Shreyas, if they carried on, it could’ve gotten us across the line with Hardik to come”
The fast bowling of India really struggled in the middle. It’s exciting innings took the game away from India big time. Saini was too expensive for his 7 overs for 70 runs. Smit and Maxwell took him while he was charging at the cross they used his pace with ease.
Steve Smith didn’t have the best of the T20I series in England but did show on a couple of occasions that he was now prepared to start his innings in a more aggressive fashion. There was a six over the straight field off the bowling of Adil Rashid in the first match and a swivel hook shot off for six Sam Curran. But then came the injury that ruled him out of the ODIs and that was that.
Smith started the IPL with that confidence and would have felt like he’d achieved his goal when he promoted himself to open for Rajasthan Royals and smashed 69 off 47 balls with 4 sixes. He however was soon back in the middle order and didn’t always get going. There were times he seemed too eager to press the accelerator, especially in that ungainly duel against Pat Cummins. Other times it looked like he was putting too much pressure on himself to find those hands.
It wasn’t easy for Smith to get his rhythm back while the Aussies from the IPL trained during their quarantine period in Sydney. The slightly sluggish and up-and-down pitches in the nets there weren’t suited to the upgrade he was looking to install to his one-day batting. Then came his now-famous declaration about having found his grip, just three days out from the opening ODI against India on Friday. And he’s shown just what he meant by it with two scintillating centuries – both being reached in 62 balls – against a beleaguered Indian attack.
So India is missing out on someone like him who can make a run and follow up to the next innings. It actually can make it to the positive side of the result.
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