Sunday 22 October 2017 / 01:53 PM

AUSSIES FALL SHORT IN RAIN-AFFECTED ODI AS DROPS PROVE CRUCIAL

Australia came up 27 runs short in their chase of a revised target in a rain-affected first ODI against India in Chennai.

India made 7/281 in their 50 overs – with a pair of dropped catches from Steve Smith undoing a superb start from his bowlers – and after having to wait for two hours to begin their chase as persistent drizzle got in the way, Australia reached 9/137 in pursuit of 164 from 21 overs.

A stunning opening spell from Nathan Coulter-Nile had the hosts in early trouble at 3/11, dismissing Ajinkya Rahane for 5 and Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey for ducks.

Rohit Sharma (28) – who was dropped by Smith at slip when he was on 4 – and Kedhar Jadhav (40) righted India’s ship before both batsmen fell to all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.

A 118-run stand between veteran MS Dhoni (79) and youngster Hardik Pandya (83) proved the turning point of the match – particularly as the usually reliable Smith shelled a chance to Pandya for just 13.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar chipped in with a handy 32 not out from 30 balls in an important 72-run partnership with Dhoni that saw India through to an imposing total.

After a typically fast start from David Warner, Hilton Cartwright (1) departed in the fourth over – bowled by Jasprit Bumrah – before Pandya backed up his whirlwind 66-ball knock with the scalps of Smith (1) and Travis Head (5).

Warner (25) fell in the eighth over to put Australia’s chase on the rack at 4/35. Glenn Maxwell (39 off 18) and James Faulkner (32 not out off 25) did their best to keep the contest alive, but Stoinis (3), Matthew Wade (9), Pat Cummins (9) and Coulter-Nile (2) departed at regular intervals to stunt any momentum the tourists tried to build.

Yuzvendra Chahal led India’s bowlers with 3/30, but there was never any question Pandya – who belted five sixes and five four with the bat before his crucial double-strike with the ball – would carry off man-of-the-match honours.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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