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Friday,22-January-2021

International

Australia outscore India, take 1-0 lead in ODI series

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Australia defeated India by 66 runs in the first One-day International at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.

Though there was a rearguard action from Hardik Pandya, who got his highest ODI score (90 off 76 balls) and added 128 runs for the fifth wicket with opener Shikhar Dhawan (74 off 86), Australia’s total of 374 for six wickets in 50 overs, their highest against India in one-dayers, proved too daunting. India finished at 308 for eight wickets in 50 overs.

India lost their first three wickets inside the first 10 overs to lose momentum. Both Agarwal and fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan had given India a turbo-charged start with a 53-run opening stand in just over five overs. But then Hazlewood struck with three short-pitched deliveries to dent India’s march, picking Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, and Shreyas Iyer.

Earlier, skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith scored centuries to lead Aussie charge, after Australia won the toss.

Finch made 114 from 124 deliveries with the help of nine 4s and two 6s while Smith scored 105 off just 66 balls — with 11x4s and four 6s — as the hosts took heavy toll on hapless Indian bowlers who had no option to fall back on.

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the most severely hit, going for 89 in his 10-over spell. He could pick just one wicket. Chahal’s are the most number of runs conceded by an Indian spinner on ODIs, going worse than 85 that another leg-spinner, Piyush Chawla, conceded in his 10 overs against Pakistan in 2008.

Electing to bat, the hosts started steadily with both Finch and David Warner taking their time to adjust to the pitch. However, once they got settled, there was no looking back as the pair shared a 156-run opening wicket partnership in 27.5 overs.

During the course of the partnership, Finch became the second-fastest Australian to score 5,000 ODI runs (126 innings, 11 more than Warner).

India got their first breakthrough as Warner got out against Mohammed Shami after playing a well-rounded 69-run knock, with the help of six 4s.

Smith, who came in next, started right from the word go and scored runs quickly, adding 108 runs with Finch.

Finch, the Australia skipper, was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah after he got to his 17th ODI hundred.

Glenn Maxwell, who had failed miserably in the IPL, came good and smashed the Indian bowlers. Maxwell used switch-hit and reverse sweep to good effect as he scored 45 runs off just 18 balls (five 4s, three 6s) before getting caught at the long-on boundary off the bowling of Shami.

With Marnus Labuschagne getting dismissed soon after, former Australia captain Steve Smith ensured that he kept his team on course for a big total. He stuck to one end, kept scoring boundaries at will and brought up his 10th hundred in just 62 balls — the third fastest by an Australian in ODIs. The former Australia skipper was bowled in the final over of the innings, but not before inflicting huge damage to the Indians.

Among India bowlers, only Mohammed Shami could go for under six runs an over.

In reply, India got off to a horrible start losing three wickets, Agarwal, Kohli, and Iyer, in the first 10 overs. They then lost KL Rahul in the 14th over. However, Pandya and Dhawan kept the hopes alive. Pandya scored very quickly and was particularly severe on the spinners.

However, the pressure got to them. Dhawan fell to a dismissal, giving a catch off Adam Zampa to short mid-off and a few overs later Pandya too fell to Zampa, holing out to long on. At the time of Pandya’s dismissal, India still needed 128 in 11 overs and they had no batsman, other than Jadeja (25 off 37) to take them. Eventually, they fell short by 67 runs.

Brief Scores: Australia: 374/6 wkts in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 114, Steve Smith 105; Mohammed Shami 59/3) beat India: 308/8 wkts in 50 overs (H Pandya 90, S Dhawan 74, A Zampa 4/54, J Hazlewood 3/47) by 66 runs

International

Quit Aus obsession, beating India in India more important: Graeme Swann to England

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Australia are no more the best team in the world and what England should be focusing at is to beat India in India as they have been “virtually unbeatable” at home since 2012, feels former England off-spinner Graeme Swann.

England will be taking on India in a four-Test series beginning February 5, followed by five T20Is and three ODIs. The Virat Kohli-led side would be high on confidence following their recent memorable Test series win over Australia in their own backyard.

According to Swann, beating India in India would now be a higher achievement than winning Ashes series away considering the performances of Team India in recent times.

“England always saying ‘well the Ashes are coming up’. B***ocks to that. If you want to be the best team in the world, let’s be the best team all over the planet, not just trying to beat Australia away. We have to move away from looking forward to the Ashes series. It’s a mentality ingrained in this country. Australia are not the best team in the world anymore. They used to be, by miles, and they were the benchmark to strive for,” Swann told The Sun.

“They’re not now, but we’re obsessed with this. I think beating India in India is a far higher thing to strive for right now. They’re virtually unbeatable in India since we beat them in 2012. Why isn’t that the whole thing? Why aren’t people saying ‘right, this is a chance to get this team with good players of spin, use their feet, change the whole way we face spin bowling, and then we can beat India’,” he added.

Swann, who was one of the key performers in England’s series win in India in 2012, believes the Joe Root-led side needs to have the right setup to overcome the spin challenge.

In 2012, Swann picked up 20 wickets while Monty Panesar bagged 17. Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook scored 562 and 338 runs as England registered a 2-1 series win.

“We’re not going to beat India unless spinners are taking wickets, and then we’ve got someone batting like we had with Kevin Pietersen. He changed the way England had ever played against spin. He was ultra-aggressive. Let’s face it KP was a brilliant player and he batted unbelievably well there,” said Swann.

“We haven’t done it since, we haven’t learnt from how Kev batted on that trip and haven’t gone on and used that as the blueprint,” he added.

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International

T10 format is thrilling & exciting, suits me: Kieron Pollard

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West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who has scored over 10,000 runs in the T20 format, has expressed that the T10 format suits his style of cricket.

“The thrill and excitement of T10 is limitless. But it’s actually not too dissimilar to the kind of cricket I grew up playing. It’s not about see ball hit ball. You need to be able to think on your feet, anticipate and execute plans without pausing too much. It suits me to be honest and my experience stands me in good stead when reading the opposition,” Pollard said ahead of the Abu Dhabi T10 beginning January 28 where he will be leading Deccan Gladiators.

The 33-year-old said that he is very excited to play with the likes of Sunil Narine and Imran Tahir in the upcoming season of the T10 tournament.

“I’m most excited about playing with the group that we have assembled at Deccan Gladiators. I can’t wait to go out there with match-winners like Narine, Tahir, Shahzad, Ingram, local UAE star Zahoor and others. We also have a few surprises up our sleeves for our opponents,” he said.

Gladiators team owner Gaurav Grover said his side has enough firepower to win the competition.

“The target of Deccan Gladiators this time would definitely be to win the trophy. With the changes in the helm this year, there are high expectations from the Gladiators. We have taken care of every flaw we had, which might have been the reason for last year’s defeat (in the final),” said Grover.

“We have West Indian powerhouse as our captain – Keiron Pollard and our Icon Player himself is fearless and unbounded spinner – Sunil Narine. Also, our team is packed with threatening bowlers such as fast bowler Aaron Summers and (leg-spinner) Imran Tahir. Talking about batsmen, we have Mohammad Shahzad, who is also a wicketkeeper,” he added.

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Mohammed Siraj find of Australia tour, says Ravi Shastri

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India head coach Ravi Shastri on Friday heaped praise on fast bowler Mohammed Siraj who played a crucial role in the team’s remarkable win over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar series.

“Find of the tour for shoring up the bowling attack the way he did – Mohd Siraj. He fought through personal loss, racial remarks and channelised them to find home in the team huddle,” Shastri said in a tweet.

Siraj picked 13 wickets in the three Tests he played, the first of which was his debut, through the course of the series which India won 2-1. During the tour, Siraj lost his father and even faced racial abuse from a section of a crowd during the third Test in Sydney. However, he didn’t let these obstacles affect his performance as played a key role in India’s memorable Test series win over the Tim Paine-led side.

On his return to India on Thursday, the 26-year-old fast bowler said he had no time to relax and would like to focus on the game without thinking too much.

“Whenever I performed I missed my father. In fact, I was thinking of calling him after every good performance but later realised that he was no more. I miss him a lot. May Allah grant him place in paradise,” Siraj said.

The Hyderabad-based bowler said it was an emotional moment for him when he drove straight from the airport to the graveyard and offered flowers on his father’s grave.

On being abused racially by spectators during the third and fourth Tests, in Sydney and Brisbane respectively, Siraj said it made him mentally strong and he did not allow that to impact his game.

“The case (on racial abuse) is going on. Let us see if we get justice or not. I told my captain that some audience is abusing me. The umpire said you can leave the ground but the captain said we will not go as we respect the game of cricket and you may send them out,” he said.

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