Pune: Australia showed just why they have been so successful in ODIs in India, and just why India’s usual template of chasing anything their profligate bowlers concede often comes short against the visitors. Their batsmen powered their side over 300 on a slow and, at times, uneven pitch. Their fast bowlers then extracted appreciable bite from the same pitch and used the short ball intelligently to finish the contest by the end of the batting Powerplay. Tellingly, India have never successfully chased 300-plus against Australia, and this was their 11th failed attempt.
The only time India looked relatively comfortable was during the 71-run third-wicket partnership between Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, who was promoted to No 4 ahead of Yuvraj Singh. The asking-rate was above seven an over, but the duo was keeping up with it. Raina has never hidden his ambition of batting up the order, but that will have to be backed by a curbing of his urge to go for the glory swipe over midwicket, a stroke that serves him well while finishing an innings. He’d seemed to have weathered the inevitable early short-ball test to motor to 39 before he tried the shot against James Faulkner and mishit to third man. India were 137 for 2 when Raina fell; they would crumble to 232.
Mitchell Johnson hadn’t played the Rajkot T20 in which India chased 200-plus. He took the first new ball tonight and delivered a searing spell of extreme pace, hitting speeds over 150kph regularly. He also took the key wicket of Yuvraj Singh, the architect of the Rajkot win who came in at Raina’s fall, setting him up with a couple of full deliveries before squaring him up with a shortish one and inducing a poke to the wicketkeeper.
Australia 304 for 8 (Bailey 85, Finch 72) beat India 232 (Kohli 61, Faulkner 3-47) by 72 runs