Smith and Bailey counter Rohit’s brilliant knock
Australia took a 1-0 lead in their five-match ODI series against India via an impressive five-wicket win at the WACA, running down the target of 310 with four balls to spare.
A spell-binding 171 not out off 163 balls by serial record-breaker Rohit Sharma led India to 3/309, while the mercurial Virat Kohli crafted 91 off 97; the illustrious pair combined for a 207-run stand. MS Dhoni (18 off 13) and Ravindra Jadeja (10 not out off 5) bumped the total up with some late pinch-hitting.
Josh Hazlewood was the pick of the Aussie bowlers with 1/41 off 10 overs, while James Faulkner claimed 2/60 from his maximum allotment.
Indian debutant Barinder Sran put the hosts under the pump at 2/21 by removing Aaron Finch (8) with a brilliant caught-and-bowled and David Warner (5), who was caught by Kohli at mid-off. But Smith and Bailey weathered the storm and calmly kept Australia on track, putting on a swift 242-run partnership.
Bailey, who gloved a delivery down leg while still on zero but survived due to India’s refusal to play with DRS, was finally out for 112 off 120 balls, by which stage Australia had reduced their requirement to 47 off 49 balls.
There were a couple of late speed-bumps as Glenn Maxwell (6) went cheaply and Steve Smith’s masterful 149 off 135 balls came to an end on the first ball of the final over, but it was ultimately a comfortable chase for the men in green-and-gold.
Bailey rubs in let-off to anti-DRS Indians
George Bailey gained just as much attention for reviving the wide-brimmed hat as he did for a superb century, but the 33-year-old couldn’t resist taking a pot-shot at his opponents’ refusal to play under the DRS system after the match.
“Take us back to the first ball. Caught the thigh guard?,” Channel 9 commentator Mark Taylor asked Bailey.
“Yeah, it caught the thigh guard,” Bailey said facetiously, before adding, “It would have been interesting on DRS. We are not the team who doesn’t want it.”
— Wide World of Sports (@WWOS9) January 12, 2016
Dhoni hints at DRS conspiracy
Indian captain MS Dhoni used the after-match press conference to confirm his support for the BCCI’s position on DRS, and suggested that stance results in borderline decisions consistently going against his team – going as far as saying it may have been a factor in Bailey’s critical reprieve.
“It could have [changed the outcome of game], but at the same time, we need to push the umpires to make the right decision and you have to see how many 50:50 decisions doesn’t go in our favour and it always happens. Then [in that case] you have to take it, but I’m still not convinced about DRS,” Dhoni said.
He then outlined in detail his – and India’s – issues with the way DRS is employed.
“I tell you what DRS should be; it should be the decision making system,” the skipper continued.
“If you see the deviations in DRS, there are quite a few deviations, even the makers agree that there’s a bit of deviation that can happen.
“Now you have to also take into account whether it was given not out or not. If it’s given out, it needs to touch the stump, if it’s not out then half the ball needs to hit the stump. That itself makes the variables too big and in cricket every inch matters, it’s millimetres that really matters.
“It has to be plain and simple, you don’t want to put too many things in consideration. Now for example you take DRS in an LBW decision – what really changes everything is whether the decision was given in favour or not and it can mean a margin of one inch and in cricket that’s very big.”
Tough initiation for debutants
While Sran starred with 3/56 for India, fellow ODI first-timers Joel Paris and Scott Boland had a more torrid time of it at the bowling crease for the home side. Hometown boy Paris went for 0/53 off 8 overs, while Boland was smashed for four sixes in his 10 overs for a 0/74 return. Boland did produce a fine catch to get rid of Dhoni, however.
Had so much fun today! Great to get a win and debut with @sboland24 absolutely honored to be presented my cap by Bruce Reid!
— Joel Paris (@Joelyp92) January 12, 2016
Warner replaced by Khawaja
David Warner is now officially on paternity leave as he and wife Candice await the birth of their second child. The master blaster has been replaced in the squad by in-form Test star Usman Khawaja, who played the last of his three ODIs in February 2013.
Well played our lads tonight the skip and bails unreal. 1-0 off to a great start. Now to Brisbane. #redeye
— David Warner (@davidwarner31) January 12, 2016