After India’s twin losses at the Sydney Cricket Ground, there is one match left for them to protect a tiny bit of their integrity. Apart from the hosts creating new records and India’s improved batting performance in the second ODI, there was not much to differentiate between the opening two fixtures of India’s 2020-21 tour of Australia.
As Australia made their highest ODI total against India, India’s improvement in the batting department was overshadowed by a more inferior bowling display. During this, they handed captain Virat Kohli his third successive series loss across formats.
The third ODI will be played on December 2 at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, as will the first two T20s.
Some of the reasons why the hosts could embarrass the Indians so easily was because India has been absent from international cricket for a longer time than the Australians who defeated England 2-1 in an ODI series, just before the start of the Indian Premier League.
Another reason for India’s huge loss was the absence of hitman Rohit Sharma. Chasing targets like 375 and 390, India would need a huge boost from the opening batsmen. Who better than the man with three ODI double centuries to open in India’s batting lineup. Replacing him is youngster Mayank Agarwal who hasn’t quite fulfilled his role stepping in for the Indian veteran.
India’s top scorers – Virat Kohli and KL Rahul – consumed a lot more dot balls than the Aussies who were regularly rotating strike, navigating gaps and hitting the occasional boundaries.
Had the Indian bowlers been more careful, there might have been level competition. Hardik Pandya, who is still recovering from his back injury, bowled four overs and dismissed Steve Smith for 104. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal also conceded the most number of runs ever by an Indian spinner in an ODI, breaking his own record by giving away 89 crucial runs.
It will be a good opportunity for India to allow players like T Natarajan, Manish Pandey and Kuldeep Yadav to showcase their talents ahead of the three-match T20 series. Unless India puts up a mammoth total batting first and the bowlers manage to pick up wickets early on, Australia is all set to whitewash India in this ODI bilateral series in their home ground for the first time in the history of the game.