Australia Day celebrations were muted for the national cricket side as India delivered a wake-up call less than two months out from the Twenty20 World Cup, chalking up a convincing 37-run win in the first T20I over the Aussies at Adelaide Oval.
Virat Kohli’s sizzling 90 not out off 55 balls steered the visitors to a total of 3/188 off their 20 overs, before they knocked Australia off for 151 in the final over.
After a breezy start by Rohit Sharma (31 off 20), returning veteran Shane Watson claimed both Indian openers in the fifth over. But that brought Kohli and Suresh Raina (41 off 34) to the crease, and the pair put on 134 for the third wicket. MS Dhoni (11 not out off 3 balls) made another trademark late-innings contribution.
Watson (2/24 off four overs) was easily the pick of the Australian bowlers, but it was a less auspicious international comeback for Shaun Tait, who was hammered for 0/45 off his four overs. Kane Richardson and James Faulkner also went for more than 10 an over.
The hosts began brightly in reply, but ultimately only Aaron Finch (44 off 33) and Steve Smith (21 off 14) made much of an imprint. When the pair both departed with the score on 89, India put the brakes on the chase.
Debutant Travis Head (2) became the fourth wicket to fall in the 11th over, while none of the last eight partnerships garnered more than 17 runs.
Medium-pacer Jasprit Bumrah claimed 3/23 off 3.3 overs, and the two spinning Ravis, Ashwin and Jadeja, had the Aussies in tangles and took a pair of crucial wickets each.
Stud of the day
The combative Kohli’s hot streak of form continued with a dominant, unbeaten 90 that featured nine fours and two sixes. After averaging 76.2 in the ODI series, Kohli took the first T20 clash by the scruff of the neck to lead India to a statement win. He averages an incredible 48.08 in T20Is, including an average of 86.5 from his last 10 innings.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 26, 2016
Kohli’s testy side came out again, giving Steve Smith a pointed send-off after the Australian captain, who was mic’d up to the commentary team, had earlier been a bit talkative for Kohli’s liking. It’s great, harmless banter that adds to one of world cricket’s most riveting rivalries.
Australia can still pull off a series win, but they need to improve drastically ahead of Thursday’s encounter at the MCG and Saturday’s SCG showdown. Expect a few changes to the home side’s line-up. Meanwhile, India have cemented their favouritism for March’s World Cup, which they are hosting.
-Australia has chased down 160-plus just once in 16 attempts in T20Is.
-Indian debutant Hardik Pandya conceded 19 runs in his first over – a record for a bowler making their first T20I appearance.