1st ODI: Under-pressure Rahul, artistic Shami star in India’s five-wicket win
STATE TIMES NEWS
MUMBAI: KL Rahul revelled under pressure with a composed 75 after Mohammed Shami’s mesmerising spell of seam bowling as India overcame initial jitters with elan in their comfortable five-wicket win against Australia in the opening ODI here on Friday. India now lead the three-match series 1-0.
After being put in to bat, Australia suffered a dramatic collapse, losing six wickets for 19 runs inside eight overs to get bowled out for 188 in 35.4 overs, courtesy 3/17 from Shami.
Mitchell Starc then blew away the Indian top-order with some incisive swing bowling as India were left tottering at 39 for 4 just after the end of the Powerplay.
Skipper Hardik Pandya (25) did stem the rot but India weren’t out of the woods when he was dismissed with the scoreboard reading 83 for 5.
But Ravindra Jadeja (45 not out, 69 balls), after having bowled nine tight overs of left-arm spin, gave adequate support in his unbroken 108-run stand with Rahul. India won the game in 39.5 overs.
But Rahul does deserve the credit for anchoring the innings in the face of a storm, and has taken to the role of a No.5 keeper-batter like fish takes to water.
He enjoys the low-scoring scrappy battles and Friday at Wankhede was one such occasion.
The idea to bring in Shami for an early second spell proved to be a masterstroke as Australia from 169/4 just collapsed like a house of cards.
He got Jos Inglis to drag one back onto his stumps and then in his next over, the delivery to Cameron Green that sent the off-stump cart-wheeling was a real peach.
It pitched on line of off-stump and Green had to commit but there was a shade late movement that beat the batter and knocked back the off-stump.
The veteran pacer helped India pull things back after an attacking 65-ball 81 from Mitchell Marsh set Australia on the course for a competitive total, as his second spell of 3-2-8-3 broke the back of Australia’s resistance after a sparkling start. Shami finished with brilliant figures of 6-2-17-3.