The format may have changed, but India, it seemed, were carrying some baggage from the Tests as their performance was pretty similar in the tri-series match at Melbourne against the Australians. There were some positives for the Indians as they dominated the game for a certain extent, especially with the bat, and for a brief while with the ball. But, yet again, they did not manage to convert those periods of dominance into a victory. And, in the end, Australia completed a much-deserved triumph, proving that even in this format India have still some way to go before they can match the Aussies.
Like in the five-day games, it was widely expected that the bowling would hurt India. It did in the end, but it must also be said that their batting was equally disappointing. Rohit Sharma finally got his act together, and made a splendid hundred, carrying on this time after getting yet another start. It was a knock that deserved a winning end as Rohit almost carried his bat through. But, as often has been the case for India, there wasn’t much support for the best batsman in the game, as the rest crumbled and undid Rohit’s fantastic work.
Looking back at the game, India managed only 267 in spite of Rohit contributing a magnificent 138. But, while Rohit was anchoring one end all the way through, India did not get the final flourish that they should have after being in a great position. The partnership between Rohit and Suresh Raina, who came back to form in his favoured format after struggling in the Tests, placed India in a very good position as they headed into the last 15 overs. However, the Indians batted very poorly after Raina’s dismissal, and the fact that they could not cross 300 hurt them in the end.
A score of 267 is considered below par in modern day ODIs. Still, India could have made a match of it had their bowlers shown better application. Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami were yet again disappointing as they allowed the hosts to run away with the match in the first half. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled with heart, but he certainly doesn’t have the pace to be a match-winner in Australian conditions. Yet again, Ravichandran Ashwin could not make much of an impression, and it was Axar Patel who looked more accomplished of the two spinners on show.
Although Yadav and Shami fought back well towards the end of the game, it was pretty much a lost cause. They need to show better application in the matches to come in the tri-series. Even as the bowling remains a worry, their batting isn’t in prime form either. Shikhar Dhawan had yet another failure to his name at Melbourne. The left-hander has been playing poor shots outside the off-stump throughout, and refuses to learn from his mistakes. It would be hugely exasperating for India to see Dhawan get out cheaply so often. It has, unfortunately, been setting the tone of the match for the Indians.
--By A Cricket Analyst