In the vast tapestry of India’s diverse social landscape, a series of threads are being pulled, threatening to unravel the intricate fabric of its civil society.
Ravindra Jadeja spun a vicious web of left-arm spin mastery while picking an outstanding 3-28 as spinners helped India bowl out Australia for just 199 in 49.3 overs in their first match of the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.
Electing to bat first on a pitch which looked dry and little bit on the slower side, Australia were 110-2 in 27 overs, before Jadeja came in to cause havoc and get his three scalps in a span of two overs to break the back of the visitors’ batting.
Kuldeep Yadav took two wickets while local lad Ravichandran Ashwin had a scalp to his name as spinners took six wickets in their 30 overs combined at an economy rate of 3.47 and triggered an Australian collapse, with all three pacers amongst the wickets too.
For Australia, who played 173 dot balls in their innings, Steven Smith and David Warner managed to make 46 and 41 respectively. But there was no noteworthy knock from the rest of the batters until Mitchell Starc hit two fours and a six in his late cameo of 28. India now need 200 to get their campaign off to a winning start.
India struck early when Jasprit Burmah got Mitchell Marsh to prod at a short of length delivery outside the off-stump and Virat Kohli at first slip took the catch by diving to his left, sending the batter back for a duck.
Warner and Smith latched on to every scoring opportunity whenever the Indian fast-bowlers bowled full or half-volley deliveries, though some deliveries from Siraj did stay low. The duo were severe against Hardik Pandya – taking him for 21 runs in his two overs and not letting him go away cheaply.
The introduction of spin saw Warner take some time, as Ashwin got some turn and uneven bounce. Warner went on the aggressive by dancing down the pitch to go inside-out against Ashwin for four, followed by sweeping Kuldeep past backward square leg for another boundary.
Kuldeep eventually broke the 69-run partnership in the 17th over by tossing up a delivery and got some dip and drift to take inside edge of Warner’s attempted drive for completing a simple caught-and-bowled dismissal.
Smith and Marnus Labuschagne tried to resurrect Australia’s innings, but the accuracy and turn from the Indian spinners meant they didn’t get boundaries after the 20th over, while strike-rotation became a hard-task, seen from reaching their hundred in 25 overs.
The first ball of the 28th over post a lengthy drinks break, Jadeja struck as he got to rip one past Smith’s defence and rattled the off-stump. In his next over, Jadeja pitched one outside off-stump and Labuschagne went for a slog-sweep, only to get an edge behind to KL Rahul, with the batter burning a review.
Jadeja increased Australia’s troubles when his stump-to-stump delivery coming from around the wicket turned in to trap Alex Carey lbw. Glenn Maxwell broke a boundary drought of 73 balls by smashing Jadeja over cover for four, but in an attempt to pull a not-so-short ball from Kuldeep, he saw his leg-stump flattened.
Australia’s innings continued to sink as Ashwin had Cameron Green slapping a short ball straight to backward point. Though Pat Cummins played the long handle by hitting a six and four each, he didn’t last long, holing out in the deep against Bumrah. Pandya and Siraj took a scalp each in the fag end to end Australia’s innings in 49.3 overs.
Brief Scores: Australia 199 in 49.3 overs (Steven Smith 46, David Warner 41; Ravindra Jadeja 3-28, Jasprit Bumrah 2-35) against India