Australia beat India by 34 runs in the first ODI of the 3-match series at the Sydney Cricket Ground today. Australia made 288/5 after winning the toss, and batting first in the 50 overs match. Peter Handscomb top scored with 73 and Usman Khawaja made 59. Shaun Marsh also batted well to score 54 runs and Marcus Stoinis made a whirlwind 47. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja took 2 wickets apiece for India.
India lost 3 quick wickets in their run chase and never really recovered from that. However, Rohit Sharma played a superb innings of 133 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni made 51 as they could post a respectable total in chase.
For Australia, Jhye Richardson was the pick of the bowlers and took 4 wickets for 26 runs while Jason Behrendorff took 2 wickets. Richardson was adjudged the man of the match for his brilliant bowling performance. We would now look at the 3 Australian players who impressed the most in the match:
#3 Usman Khawaja
Australia had lost a couple of quick wickets as skipper Aaron Finch again failed with the bat. However, Khawaja and Marsh combined to pull Australia out of troubled waters. Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav gave very little room to the Australian batsmen. The Australian batsmen used their feet well to play the spinners and took a lot of ones and twos to keep the scoreboard moving.
The Australian batsmen mostly fell back on their back foot to play some cuts and pulls against the spinners, as the latter did not give the ball much flight. Khawaja played some superb reverse sweeps off the bowling of Jadeja to make some quick runs. He had to do so because the Indian spinners hardly gave any room to the batsmen.
He made his 5th half-century in ODIs before falling to Jadeja. Khawaja also hit 6 boundaries in his useful knock.
However, he could not last long after reaching his half-century and was trapped in front of the wicket while trying to play a slog sweep off Jadeja. Still, his partnership of 92 with Marsh laid the foundation for a big score for the Australians. It was always going to be difficult to chase 289 runs on that wicket and India could not get very close to their target.
#2 Peter Handscomb
Peter Handscomb was the most impressive of the Aussie batsmen and applied himself really well. He advanced down the pitch on a few occasions to hit the Indian pacers over the circle through the extra cover region. At times, he moved laterally to loft their deliveries over the short square leg. Handscomb’s quick footwork and great hands allowed him to hit 6 boundaries and 2 over-boundaries in his innings.
Handscomb and Marsh added 53 for the 4th wicket to steady the Australian innings, while his 68-run partnership with Stoinis took them to an imposing score. However, Handscomb outscored Stoinis in that partnership and made 73 off only 61 deliveries.
Australia made 93 runs in their last 10 overs to take the game away from the Indians. This was Handscomb's 2nd half-century in 9 ODIs and he seems to have a long and successful career ahead of him.
#1 Jhye Richardson
Jhye Richardson, the right-arm fast medium bowler for Australia, bowled a superb first spell and took his first 2 wickets without conceding a run. Jason Behrendorff took another wicket with the new ball as India were tottering at 4/3. Virat Kohli’s dismissal was a planned one as Richardson kept bowling at his legs with a fielder at short mid-wicket. Stoinis made no mistake in taking the catch as Kohli could not keep his on-drive to the ground.
Richardson impressed with his angular run-up and upright seam position. He also bowled a very good line and length and took 2 more wickets with the older ball. He was playing in his 5th ODI only, but looked like a seasoned campaigner while bowling to the much-vaunted Indian batting line-up.
However, he would have to keep up the good work as the Indian batsmen are likely to come hard at him in the upcoming ODIs.