Bailey and Maxwell bring up a fine partnership pulling Australia out of the woods

Rain played spoilsport as the fourth ODI between India and Australia was called off here at the JSCA Stadium on Wednesday. The match officials conducted an inspection of the ground before deciding not to resume the match.

Replying to Australia’s total of 295 for eight in 50 overs, India was 27 for no loss in 4.1 overs when rain drove the players indoors.

The play was stopped at 6.18 p.m. It rained for more than an hour. The ground staff worked tirelessly for more than one hour to restart the game but the efforts went in vain.

Trailing 1-2, India was hoping to win this match to restore parity in this series. With this match producing no result, India will have to win at least two of remaining three games to not lose the series.

The news from Cuttack, venue for the fifth ODI, is also not too good as the entire town is flooded and the Barabati Stadium too is reportedly under water. The Odisha Cricket Association, when contacted, said the match is on as scheduled.

Dhoni won the toss for the first time in this series and asked Australia to bat first considering the overcast sky and moisture in the pitch. Left-armer Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammad Shami, coming in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma, used the new ball well.

Shami generated good pace and movement off the pitch. The 23-year-old cut through the Australian top-order to leave it gasping at 32 for three in eight overs.

He brought one in sharply to surprise Aaron Finch and made one rise from short of length to force Phil Huges edge to Dhoni. Another sharp incoming delivery shattered the woodwork of Watson.

The three-wicket haul was Shami’s best figures, the previous being two for 25 against Zimbabwe in July.

Dropped catches galore

Australia should have been four down as George Bailey, facing the first ball, edged an away going delivery from Shami but Kohli failed to take the regulation catch at the third slip.

That was the beginning of the six dropped catches by the Indians. Bailey and Glenn Maxwell settled down for the fifth wicket that produced 153 runs, an Australian record against India.

Bailey was steady and solid, while Maxwell was bold, and at times, brilliant, with his IPL style strokes.

His two reverse sweeps off Ashwin from well outside the off-stump to square-leg boundary, stood out.

Bailey (35) was reprieved by Ashwin off Vinay at short mid-wicket at 90 before the Aussie captain brought up his 11th ODI half-century off 57 balls.

As the team’s score neared 150 came another dropped catch, this time Maxwell (44) square cut Unadkat. Yuvraj Singh failed to pouch him at point. The Aussie raced to his fourth half-century off 45 balls.

The Aussie duo brought up the 100 partnership in 103 balls and soon the score was 200.

Meanwhile, Dhoni failed to latch on to an intended glide past slips by Maxwell (69) off Suresh Raina’s faster one.

Bailey fell 24 runs later when his attempt to clear the ground off Vinay ended in the hands of Rohit Sharma for a well-compiled 98 that had seven hits to the fence and three sixes.

The batting powerplay produced 37 runs, as during this period, Australia lost three wickets including Maxwell for a punishing 92 off just 77 balls with six fours and five sixes.

The last ten overs produced 57 as India restricted Australia to 295 for eight.

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