Aussies drown India at Melbourne: After having humiliated them at Perth with a five-wicket victory (with four deliveries to spare), then at Brisbane with a seven-wicket victory (with six deliveries to spare), Aussies once again humiliated Team India with a three-wicket victory (with seven deliveries remaining) in the third ODI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
At the post match presentation, Team India skipper, MS Dhoni said, “It”s tough to take. We didn”t field well tonight. There were at least three boundaries we should have easily stopped. The batsmen are working hard, but we”re always talking about 10-15 extra runs. This was a slightly different wicket, but there was not much the batsmen could have done. 295 was a good total. Sran didn”t have a good day, so it became difficult for himself, and I couldn”t rotate the bowlers. Rishi and Gurkeerat bowled well, so we somewhat covered up for Ashwin”s absence. There is some encouragement, it is tough when you lose games but you have to realise the bowling attack is largely inexperienced. It”s good to see Ishant bowl well in the middle, but when there”s a bit of pressure, the fast bowlers leak runs.”
Atleast one of the top order Indian batsman scored a ton, with Rohit scoring 171 at Perth and 124 at Brisbane, Virat Kohli did the honours at Melbourne, registering 24th ODI century in his 169th game (161st innings) with a wonderful knock of 117 runs off 117 deliveries that contained 7 fours and 2 sixes.
India batted first, by choice, in the first two encounters while they were ‘put in’ by the hosts in the third. Rohit departed early, leaving the job of consolidating the innings to his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan and the vice-captain Virat Kohli.
Dhawan, who miserably failed in the first two ODIs with a score of 9 and 6 respectively, took it on him to stay put in the middle and brought up 16th ODI half-ton, by contributing 68 runs. However, he was very cautious, slow and consumed 91 deliveries for the same. This definitely hurt the team big time.
Kohli was having the upper-hand over the ‘not so experienced’ Aussie bowlers. Rahane joined Kohli in the middle at the stage of 134/2 in 26.5 overs. The 119-run second-wicket partnership between Dhawan and Kohli came in 22.2 overs at just 5.32 RPO, while the third-wicket partnership between Kohli and Rahane (50) came in 17.3 overs at 6.22 RPO.
The goings were definitely slow. At Dhawan’s departure Team India were going at 5.06 an over which was definitely on the slower side. Realising this, maybe skipper Dhoni, who has the capacity to accelerate the scoring rate, should have walked in at No 3, instead of Rahane, who is known to have a slow start.
These two partnerships though added the numbers, were slow in the run accumulation process.
Dhoni joined Kohli in the 44th over at the stage of 243 for 3 and scored a quick-fire 23 runs in just 9 delivers with a couple of fours and sixes.
This was ‘too little too late’ and Indians had to remain contended only with 295 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in 50 overs.
The first 10 overs realised only 43 runs (4.30 RPO), while the overs between 11 and 40 produced 164 runs (5.46 RPO) and the final 10 overs produced 88 runs (8.80 RPO). The opening overs did not produce sufficient runs suggesting the top order batsmen were relative’lt in the accumulation process. Even the low scoring in the middle overs suggested the lack of a ‘pinch hitter’ in the team.
John Hastings claimed 4 wickets giving away 58 runs in his 10 overs.
Chasing 296, the Aussies had a great start with Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch going after the ‘toothless’ Indian bowling. Barinder Sran was very expensive, giving away 63 runs in his spell of 8 overs and also went wicket-less.
Umesh Yadav provided the first break-through removing Aaron Finch (21). Smith and Marsh did the consolidation part adding 64 runs for the second wicket when Smith (41) departed. George Bailey who played a stellar role in the first two games did very little at Melbourne.
Glenn Maxwell who did not do much at Perth and Brisbane, showed his class here and went on to play the role of a ‘pinch-hitter cum anchor’ and guided his team to safety. His 83–ball 96 runs, virtually put paid to all hopes of an Indian victory. He hung in till Australia put up 295 runs on the board.
Meanwhile Shaun Marsh brought up his 12 ODI half-ton, scoring 62 runs off 73 deliveries, but survived a scare when he was dropped by Rahane.
None of the Indian bowlers could intimidate the Aussie batsmen. Added to this was the sloppy fielding leaking runs galore and failing to hold on to crucial catches, the main culprits being Rahane and Dhawan.
Dhoni’s wicket-keeping skill was at display when he whipped off the bails as Bailey stepped out to put a Jadeja delivery out of the ground and later on ‘running out’ Mitchell Marsh by collecting a very good Yadav throw from near the ropes.
Possibly Dhoni would have felt the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin in the Playing XI since this kind of wicket might have just suited Ashwin and Jadeja bowling in tandem.
Team India bowling and fielding coaches have a lot of work to do since both the departments have not ‘delivered’ in all the three games and this is letting the team down significantly.
The two Indian debutants, Rishi Dhawan and Gurkeerat Singh Mann could do very little to change India’s fortunes.
As compared to the Indian batting, Aussies, in the first 10 overs, generated 65 runs (6.50 RPO), while the overs between 11 and 40 added 166 runs (5.53 runs RPO) and the final 10 overs contributed 65 runs (6.50 RPO).
Aussies reached the target in 48.5 overs and won the game by 3 wickets with 7 deliveries to spare. They now lead the series 3-0.
For his heroics with the bat, Glenn Maxwell was awarded the Player of the Match.