India take on Australia in the second ODI of the five-match series in Nagpur on Tuesday with a 1-0 lead under their belt.
The Men in Blue won the first game in Hyderabad by six wickets after fine fifties from Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni chasing 237.
With the ball, India were on top of their game with pacer Mohammed Shami and wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav picking up two wickets apiece. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja went for just 33 runs from his 10 overs, which was probably the deciding factor. It was a commanding effort after India lost the T20 series 2-0.
As the hosts look to take a 2-0 lead in the ODI series, we take a look at three key battles.
KOHLI v ZAMPA
Not many bowlers can claim to have a measure of India captain Virat Kohli, especially in white-ball cricket. Australia leg-spinner Adam Zampa is a member of that select group of bowlers, having dismissed the Indian batting superstar four times in 13 encounters across formats – twice each in ODIs and T20s.
What’s more Zampa has already dismissed Kohli twice during the ongoing tour of India. So while the Australians enter the second ODI trailing 1-0, Zampa is upbeat about having the upper hand in battles against India’s batting mainstay.
“He’s one guy we always spend a little bit of extra time talking about in team meetings. It’s good for the confidence, it’s exciting to get a player like that out,” Zampa said ahead of the second ODI. “But it’s also one of those things where he probably won’t want to get out to me again so I don’t know if he’s going to do a bit more thinking about it. I’m going to have to bowl even better this game.”
JADHAV V MAXWELL
Both teams will be relying on an off-spin bowling all-rounder in the middle order capable of winning match on his own. While Kedar Jadhav put in an all-round show in the first ODI by picking up a wicket and smashing a match-winning 81 not out, Glenn Maxwell chipped in with a fine 40 in the first match to go with his T20 series winning century.
Interestingly, Maxwell didn’t bowl in the first ODI and if the wicket is dry on Tuesday, expect him to step up to the mark.
SHAMI v COULTER-NILE
Shami has quickly overtaken Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the second best ODI pace bowler in the team. And at times, he has bowled as well as spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, if not better. The second ODI will be another opportunity for Shami to seal his World Cup spot irrespective of what Bhuvi does when he gets a chance later in the series.
Australia quick Nathan Coulter-Nile has been unlucky with back injuries but proved he can be mighty effective in the 50-over format, picking up 2-46 in the first game. The right-arm quick proved a point to Australian selectors who had ignored him during the home series against India, saying Coulter-Nile’s fitness is not up to mark for ODIs. If he manages to complete the series, that would be some statement from him.
India batting prodigy Prithvi Shaw found form in his first competitive tournament since his return from ankle injury as he scored a fifty for his state Mumbai in the domestic Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament.
Shaw had injured his ankle during a warm-up match before the start of the Test series in Australia in late November and has just returned to full fitness.
He started the Mushtaq Ali tournament on a poor note, registering scores of 10, 8 and zero. But in his fourth match of the tournament, Shaw finally hit his stride as he cracked 71 off 47 balls with five fours and seven sixes as Mumbai chased down 141 against Goa in Indore.
Shaw was heartbroken after losing a golden opportunity to open the innings in Australia and show his true potential. He is not part of the limited overs set-up as yet and might have to wait until the middle of the year to wear the India jersey again when the Test Championship begins.
Meanwhile, sidelined India left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed continued his sensational form in the tournament as he picked up 5-18 for his state Rajasthan against Vidarbha. It was his first five-for in the T20 format. He picked up three-wicket hauls in his preceding two games, taking his tournament tally to 11 from three games.
Those performances are in start contrast to his results against New Zealand in the T20 series where he went for 47 and 48 runs in two matches.
Australia won a low-scoring T20 in Vizag against India on Sunday by three wickets off the last ball of the game with the slow batting of veteran wicketkeeper MS Dhoni (29 not out off 37 balls) – who refused multiple singles in the death overs – the main talking point.
Glenn Maxwell proved his match-winning abilities on even a challenging surface like the one in Vizag by smashing 56 from 43 balls as Australia chased down a target of 127.
The sluggish nature of the surface meant India were always in the hunt. Even as Maxwell and D’Arcy Short (37 off 37) took the total closer to 100 with eight wickets in hand, the Indians hung in there. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal created an opening by dismissing Maxwell. Australia needed 29 from the last five overs when Short was run-out after a mix-up with Peter Handscomb. Left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya gave away just five runs and bowled Ashton Turner to bring the equation down to 21 from the last three.
A sensational penultimate over by Jasprit Bumrah (3-16) where he conceded just two runs and got the scalps of Handscomb and Nathan Coulter-Nile made it 14 from the final six balls. But an off-colour Umesh Yadav failed to nail his yorkers consistently as bowlers Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins hit him for a boundary each. Two were needed off the last ball for an Aussie win and the visitors scampered two runs on the throw towards mid-on to win the match.
Dhoni has refused 8 runs. Not sure how to defend that... never mind there was no other batsman to support him. #IndvAus— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) February 24, 2019
However, the match will be remembered for Dhoni’s knock. MSD has polarised opinions with his extremely cautious approach to batting in the past season or so. That approach has not always ended up in desired results for the Indian team. On Sunday, Dhoni’s ultra cautious approach generated extreme reactions.
Dhoni was batting on 19 off 22 balls with India 109-7 with three overs to go. With Yuzvendra Chahal batting at the other end, Dhoni refused as many as eight singles in the final three overs and ended up hitting just one six and finishing on 29 off 37 balls. In a game of close margins, that tactic backfired.
India’s innings was earlier held together by KL Rahul who made a fine 50 off just 36 balls while Virat Kohli hit 24 off 17.