India-Australia ODI series | Men in Blue looking to seal the deal against visiting Aussies

Ahead of the World Cup, Rahul’s men will be most happy with Suryakumar and Shami’s performances in the Mohali ODI

September 23, 2023 09:28 pm | Updated 09:29 pm IST - INDORE

Mohammed Shami celebrating the wicket of Mitchell Marsh during the 1st ODI between India and Australia held at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.

Mohammed Shami celebrating the wicket of Mitchell Marsh during the 1st ODI between India and Australia held at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. | Photo Credit: Sportzpics

The Men in Blue landed in this historical city on Saturday as the No. 1 team across formats. They had made history when they beat Australia in the first ODI at Mohali; only South Africa had achieved the feat of being the ICC’s top-ranking team for men in Tests, ODIs and T20Is at the same time, back in 2012.

It is no doubt a significant achievement and a fair reflection of the strength and depth of the present day Indian cricket. Ruturaj Gaikwad provided a glimpse of that.

The stylish opener is not part of the World Cup squad and has been named only for the first two games of this series, but he played a crucial role in India’s five-wicket win in the opening match on Friday night. He scored 71 attractive runs – a maiden ODI fifty, in his third match – and put on 142 for the first wicket with Shubman Gill, himself a stylist of the top drawer.

Gill, of course, is in fantastic form, and is the leading scorer in ODIs this calendar year, with 1126 runs from 19 matches at an average of 70.37 (four hundreds). The last time he played an ODI here, at the Holkar Stadium, he had made a 78-ball 112 to help India beat New Zealand by 90 runs after posting a mammoth 385 for nine.

But, he wasn’t the Player-of-the-Match. Shardul Thakur was, for his 25 (17b) and three for 45. At Mohali, though, he leaked 78 runs without taking a wicket. The team management should be expecting an improved show from him.

Shami staking his claim

It, however could not have asked more of Mohammed Shami, who, with his career-best five for 51 in trying conditions, has staked a claim for a place in the starting eleven for the World Cup. The balls that dismissed Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith ought to make the job difficult for the wise men to select the team.

India’s Suryakumar Yadav and skipper KL Rahul during the 1st ODI match against Australia.

India’s Suryakumar Yadav and skipper KL Rahul during the 1st ODI match against Australia. | Photo Credit: ANI

They should be happy with the way Suryakumar Yadav approached the Indian chase, with a responsible half-century. They should also be content with captain K.L. Rahul’s knock that sealed the victory, though they may want an improvement with his ‘keeping gloves’ on.

Rahul and his men should be keen to wrap up the series with this match. It should be a morale-booster ahead of the World Cup.

But the gritty Australians will be determined to keep the series alive till the last match at Rajkot. For that, they need to come up with a better effort, both with bat and ball.

The batters from No. 3 to 7 all got runs but none touched 50. The bowlers rarely troubled Ruturaj or Gill during the big stand.

Josh Inglis’s 45 was one of the few positives for the visitors, for whom Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell might miss out again.

The teams (from):

India: K.L. Rahul (Capt.), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Prasidh Krishna and Washington Sundar.

Australia: Pat Cummins (Capt.), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis, Alex Carey, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, Matthew Short, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Ellis, Sean Abbott, Tanveer Sangha and Spencer Johnson.

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