Mohali: Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad hit fifties at the top, followed by captain KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav notching up half-centuries in guiding India to five-wicket win over Australia in the ODI series opener, here at PCA Stadium on Friday.
After veteran fast-bowler Mohammed Shami bagged the second five-for of his ODI career and propelled India to bowl out Australia for 276, the pitch seemed to have eased out a bit in the second innings, making the path of taking a 1-0 lead easier for the hosts’.
In the chase, Gill and Gaikwad combined to share a stand of 142 runs for the opening wicket. Gill, playing his first international match at home, made 74 off 63 balls while Gaikwad scored 77-ball 71, also his first ODI fifty.
After the duo followed, by Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan fell, Rahul stepped up under pressure yet again, scoring a 63-ball 58, with four boundaries and a match-winning lofted six to seal a clinical win with eight balls to spare. The victory also takes India to top of ODI rankings and also marks their first win over Australia at the venue after November 1996.
What would have greatly pleased the team management was the restraint in shot-selection and calmness in the situation shown by Suryakumar, while making a 49-ball 50, a much-needed third half-century in the format to ease questions on his 50-over adaptability.
Gill and Gaikwad began the chase by playing their shots with immaculate ease against the pacers. While Gill used timing, placement and elegance, apparent from his 90m pulled six off Marcus Stoinis, to shine on his home turf, Gaikwad took time to get going.
He also got a life on 17 when his catch was dropped by wicketkeeper Josh Inglis off Sean Abbott’s bowling. After that, Gaikwad began going for his shots, being delightful in punching and driving through point and cover regions as India made 66 runs in the first power-play.
Gill was quick in attacking against debutant Matthew Short’s part-time off-spin, smashing a four and six in the 14th over, to get his fifth fifty of the year off 37 balls. Four overs later, Gaikwad got his first ODI fifty off 60 deliveries with a brace.
The 142-run opening stand was broken in the 22nd overs when Gaikwad was trapped lbw off Adam Zampa, missing a fuller delivery while attempting to sweep. In the leg-spinner’s next over, Shreyas Iyer was run-out for just three after a mix-up. Zampa would cause another dent in India’s chase by castling Gill with a skiddy delivery.
Zampa could have got his fourth wicket if he hadn’t dropped Rahul’s catch on one off his own bowling. It gave India the fortune it needed as Rahul and Kishan began to take boundaries off him. But Pat Cummins took out Kishan in the 33rd over, when an attempted upper cut took the faint edge to the keeper.
Suryakumar shed his propensity to pre-mediate and hardly swept any deliveries. Right from the ramp, glance to the fine and textbook straight drives, fans were witnessing a very different and calmer version of Suryakumar.
Shortly after Suryakumar got his fifty, he fell to Abbott by flicking straight to square leg. An assured Rahul stepped up to hit a four and six on last two balls of the chase, reaching his fifty and then finishing off the chase in style to get a convincing win for India.
Brief Scores: Australia 276 (David Warner 52, Josh Inglis 45; Mohammed Shami 5-51, Jasprit Bumrah 1-43) lost to India 281/5 in 48.4 overs (Shubman Gill 74, Ruturaj Gaikwad 71; Adam Zampa 2-57, Pat Cummins 1-44) by five wickets