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.
The dust is yet to settle after the world witnessed a blockbuster World Cup contest between India and Australia in Ahmedabad just four nights back. Barely seven months from now, another cricket World Cup comes calling, and this time it’s the shorter but sharper version of the game. And the countdown to the next T20 World Cup began with a five-match series between the familiar opponents with a number of players from each side hoping to make their respective World Cup squads.
One such player is wicketkeeper Josh Inglish, who despite being one of the members of the World Cup winning squad, had to come up with something spectacular to present himself as the first choice batter-keeper in the shortest format. On Thursday, Inglish grabbed the opportunity with both hands and in a way sent the message to the George Bailey-led Australian selectors, by slamming a 47-ball century to propel the Kangaroos to .. in the first T20I here.
Inglish came up with a power-packed 50-ball 110, laced with 11 hits to the fence and eight over it, to tame the new-look Indian bowling attack.
While India rang in several changes, resting most of the senior players who featured in the World Cup, Australia have got a few of the World Cup winners in the team, including Steve Smith, who was promoted to open the batting for the first time in international cricket.
The right-hander survived an early scare when Ravi Bishnoi failed to hold on to a straight catch off his own bowling with Smith on 15 off 16 balls, but the leg-spinner made amends two balls later, by crashing the off-stump of the other opener Matthew Short to give India the first breakthrough.
Inglish then joined Smith, and in no time outscored his senior partner. He took Prasidh Krishna for special treatment by smashing the pacer for three boundaries and a six to milk 19 runs off the 8th over before dispatching Bishnoi for another maximum over deep midwicket to take the Kangaroos to 83 for 1 midway into their innings.
Smith, on the other hand, banked on his exquisite timing to fetch the boundaries, even as Inglish brought up his maiden T20I half century off 29 deliveries, by launching Bishnoi for a six over long on and followed it up with a four and a six to bring up Australia’s 100.
India’s new skipper Suryakumar Yadav was left searching for options to control the onslaught as the Indians erred in line by bowling wide outside the off, allowing the Aussies to free their arms at will. With both the batters going after the frontline spinners, Yadav turned to Prasidh, but the ploy hardly worked as Inglish welcomed the pacer with a six to take the second wicket partnership to the three-figure mark.
But the carnage continued as Inglish slammed three sixes in the next over off Bishnoi to storm into the 90’s before Smith got to his fifty off 40 deliveries with a boundary off Mukesh Kumar but was run out the next ball, ending the 130-run second wicket partnership and bringing in some respite to the Indian camp.
Inglish, meanwhile continued dealing in boundaries and got to his maiden T20I hundred with a couple of boundaries, before eventually Prasidh had the last laugh when he ended Inglish’s vigil, caught at deep square leg with Australia reaching 180 by the 18th over.
Marcus Stoinis (7 not out) and Tim David (19 not out) then joined forces to provide the finishing touches to the innings and ensured Australia got beyond the 200-run mark.