Australia won the opening match of the Tri-Series thrashing India by 67 runs in what was a rain-curtailed match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The hosts bowled out India for 151 after setting them a stiff target of 217 from 32 overs. The Australian victory was an all-round effort with all the players contributing something or the other. India was hard done by the Australian pace attack and its spinners spoilt the match by going for plenty of runs in the first half.
Highlights of Australia Innings
Before Rain Break: Batting first after losing the toss, the hosts got off to a slow start because of tidy bowling from both Praveen Kumar and R Vinay Kumar. David Warner as a result of this soon lost his patience and heaved across the line to a pitched up delivery from R Vinay Kumar which swung in to hit the middle stump. Warner (6 from 14 balls) was cleaned up in the 6th over paying price for a cross-batted slog with Australia at 15 for 1. In the 8th over, Ricky Ponting (2 from 12 balls) departed cheaply as well when he punched at a bouncing delivery from R Vinay Kumar on the backfoot to spoon a sharp catch to Suresh Raina at short covers. Australia were on the backfoot at 19 for 2 when the former Skipper departed.
Australia were struggling at 35 for 2 in 11 overs when heavy rain interrupted play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The hosts were tied down by excellent new ball bowling from both R Vinay Kumar and Praveen Kumar. Vinay Kumar who has added a yard or two in his pace made the Australian dance with the bounce and movement off the pitch that he was extracting.
Just when the rain came down, debutant Matthew Wade decided to open his shoulders to hit Praveen Kumar for a six and a four as Australia moved to 35 for 2 in 11 overs. Wade got to 21 from 28 balls while Skipper Michael Clarke on 5*. For India, Vinay Kumar was having an incredibly great time with figures of 5-0-8-2!
After Rain Break: After a long rain break that lasted nearly three hours, the match resumed at 12:46 PM IST with the contest curtailed to 32 overs a side! Australia who were on the backfoot until then had to quickly raise the tempo and in that process, Skipper Michael Clarke (10 from 21 balls) lost his wicket when he stepped out and whacked Rohit Sharma straight to deep wide mid wicket.
The hosts were at 49 for 3 in the 15th over when Michael Hussey joined Matthew Wade and the two left handers pulled off a terrific partnership as Australia smashed 73 runs in the next 8.2 overs! Matthew Wade who scored a fifty on his ODI Debut lost his wicket in the 23rd over when he dragged his pull off a quicker one from Rahul Sharma onto his stumps. Wade was looking extremely dangerous in his 67 which came in 69 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes.
After that blazing fourth wicket stand, Australia got few more quick runs as the Hussey brothers got together to add 32 runs in just 3.1 overs. Michael Hussey (45 from 32 balls with 4 fours) was the next to depart when his full blooded pull shot off a half tracker from Vinay Kumar was caught at deep squareleg in the 27th over. Australia blasted its way to 216 for 5 in 32 overs as David Hussey tore the Indian attack for an unbeaten 30-ball 61 which had 4 fours and 3 sixes. It was David Hussey’s 7th ODI fifty of his career and Daniel Christian who gave him company in the final overs remained unbeaten on 17 from 16 balls. For India, Vinay Kumar was the most successful bowler taking 3 for 21 in 7 overs. The spinners took a lot of beating with Ashwin going for 48 in his 5 overs and Jadeja taken for 41 in 2.4 overs! The target for India was revised to 217 from 32 overs using the Duckworth-Lewis Method.
Highlights of India Innings
India in their run chase of 217 from 32 overs lost Sachin Tendulkar (2) in the 2nd over when he square drove a full delivery from Mitchell Starc to get caught by a forward diving Ricky Ponting at backward point. In the 4th over, the tall Starc stuck again as he got one to kick up with pace and lots of bounce to have Gautam Gambhir (5) fending it to the Wicket Keeper to leave India at 13 for 2.
The visitors started to rebuild their innings with aggression coming in from the young pair of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma who put up a half century partnership. But in the 12th over, a well set Virat Kohli (31 from 34 balls with 3 fours) played a full blooded cut shot off Clint McKay straight into the safe hands of Ponting at point. A couple of balls later, McKay bent his back to get the ball to lift up and deviate away to force Rohit Sharma (21 from 21 balls) to edge his defence to the keeper. India was shaken up at 65 for 4!
In the 15th over, India was out of the contest when Suresh Raina (4) attempting a predetermined slog pull off Daniel Christian lobbed up his miscued hit to short mid wicket to leave his team at 77 for 5. Now Skipper MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja hardly had any chance of pulling off any magic as the equation was well beyond their reach. Jadeja after a 19-ball 25 played a good looking pull shot off Clint McKay in the 23rd over but the MCG being very big found him caught by Michael Hussey in the deep.
There was a double blow in the 24th over with R Ashwin (5) getting run out because of a wrong call of a third run from MS Dhoni; that was followed up by Rahul Sharma getting clean bowled by a full toss from Xavier Doherty four balls later. In the 26th over, MS Dhoni fell after a 38-ball 29 when his smashing flat hit off Doherty was brilliantly caught by David Warner running to his left at long off and jumping up take an overhead catch.
The final wicket fell in the 30th over when Praveen Kumar (15) swung McKay in the air towards long on where Ryan Harris charged in to complete a low catch. India got bowled out for a paltry 151 in 29.4 overs with Clint McKay taking 4 for 20 in just 4.4 overs!
The Man of the Match award went to Wicket Keeper Matthew Wade for his aggressive knock of 67 in the first half.
Reports on Toss and Teams at the start of the match
Toss Report: India have won the toss and asked Australia to bat first on what is a hot and humid day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the 1st Match of the Commonwealth Bank Series 2011/12. The Australian TV Commentators Ian Chappell and Tom Moody are predicting rain by sometime in the evening, this match already being a day/night affair could well be affected by the weather.
Pitch Report: Its going to be a drop-in pitch at the MCG, and it looks very dry with the hot weather and winds around. There may not be too much of pace and movement off the seams but could assist the spinners as the match goes on. Otherwise it should remain to be a hard and good batting surface. The pitch could quicken up in the second half or so if there is any shower on its way to the MCG.
Teams Report: As far as the team compositions are concerned, India are without Virender Sehwag who has been rested but replacing him is none other than Sachin Tendulkar! Otherwise India have gone in with the same team that had won the 2nd T20I which means that there are just the two pacers in Vinay Kumar and Praveen Kumar.
Australia had a massive blow just hours before this game after the news of Brett Lee fracturing his right toe. The Australians have enough bowling firepower though even without Lee. The hosts are giving ODI debut to Wicket Keeper Matthew Wade and fast bowling all-rounder Daniel Christian.
Here are the playing XIs of both the sides:
Australia: David Warner, Matthew Wade (Wicket Keeper), Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (C), Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Daniel Christian, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Clint McKay and Xavier Doherty
India: Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, R Vinay Kumar and Praveen Kumar