Here are the main takeaways from the first ODI match between two familiar foes.
India were given a proper drubbing at Mumbai as centuries from Aaron Finch and David Warner led Australia to a 10-wicket triumph in the first ODI of the three-match series. As India's performance is dissected, we take a look at a few significant things that are likely to flow under the radar from this game.
Kohli's battle against Zampa
Kohli has 1743 runs against Australia in 36 innings with an average above 50. Since 2016, Kohli averaged 68.75 per dismissal against right-arm spinners (both off and leg spin) in ODIs before this game. As such, his dismissal by Zampa is likely to be dismissed as a one-off. However, this is the sixth time that the Aussie leg-spinner has dismissed Kohli in limited-overs cricket. Only Nathan Lyon (7) and Graeme Swann (8) among spinners have more dismissals against the Indian skipper. In fact in his last 13 dismissals against spin, ten have been against leg-spinners. A potential weakness there?
Shardul Thakur's month
The last 23 days have been quite eventful for Shardul Thakur to say the least. He hit one of limited-overs cricket's premier pacers Sheldon Cottrell for a six and a four to help India win the series at Cuttack in the series decider against West Indies. At Indore against Lanka, he picked up a three for 23 and then at Pune, he slammed Lasith Malinga and Lahiru Kumara for sixes in a late order blitz. Here in Mumbai, he once again started well with the bat, hitting Cummins for back-to-back fours in a short cameo. With the ball, Thakur started brilliantly, and nearly dismissed David Warner twice in an over. After doing a Stuart Broad and nearly trapping Warner in front, he had him bounced out only for the Australian to overturn the decision. Thakur's day didn't get any better but he still has managed to reveal a few promising signs like late order hitting and swing and bounce upfront with the new ball.
Jadeja or Pant and what's Rahul doing in all this?
This is a sequence of events that need to be told in that exact order. India find their innings going nowhere and Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja are rebuilding. Jadeja finds the middle of the bat more often than not and gives the partnership some momentum before Pant finally breaks the shackles with a changed bat and matches up with him. Surely, he would go on to stay till the end and make a match-winning knock? No, that didn't happen as he made three more runs than Jadeja eventually before getting caught out off a bumper, beaten by Cummins' pace. Now, Pant was struck on the helmet in that event and doesn't start as keeper with KL Rahul taking up the gloves. See where this is going yet? Jadeja does as well in the finishing role as Pant, Rahul does a fine job behind the stumps and suddenly India might wonder why they have a hit or miss finisher in Pant.
Rahul - Dhawan thrive but was it any good?
With Rohit Sharma dismissed early, the onus was on Dhawan and number three Rahul to guide India's first innings. They did that with a few eye-catching strokes in a 121-run partnership. After the partnership was broken, India lost four wickets for 30 runs. But here's the thing. When India lost Rahul in the 28th over, India were on 134, a run rate of 4.94. The onus was on the middle-order to not just bat well but score quickly too given that run-chases get easier at the Wankhede owing to the dew factor. In the frenzy, India lost a few more wickets and found themselves in a hole. Australia, on the other hand, made 110 for the loss of no wickets in the first 15 overs with the openers giving them a solid platform that wasn't just runs but quick runs. Are India missing a trick by playing Dhawan, Rahul and Rohit in the same XI and pushing Kohli to no. 4?
Feature image courtesy: Punit Paranjpe/ AFP