India Become No.1 team across all formats with five-wicket win over Australia in first ODI



Mohammed Shami’s crafty bowling performance was beautifully complemented by grace and poise Shubman Gill as India defeated Australia by five wickets in the opening ODI of the three-match series in Mohali on Friday. The win helped India move to the top of the ICC Men’s ODI rankings, replacing Pakistan. India is now the number one team across all three formats – ODI, T20I and Test cricket. Shami showed his artistry with impressive figures of 5 for 51, reminding all and sundry of his abilities as he helped India restrict Australia to 276 after asking the visitors to make use of the strip first time.

In reply, Gill again stamped his authority with a 63-ball 74 to add 142 to the Asian Games-bound opening stand Ruturaj Gaikwad (71 off 77 balls) to set the stage for the victory which on paper might have looked a bit more of a stretch than it actually was.

The victory was achieved in 48.4 overs which Suryakumar Yadav (50 off 49 balls) and skipper KL Rahul (58 not out off 63 balls) also played their part with only Shreyas Iyer (3) and Ishan Kishan (18) misses a batting party.

Surya would be particularly pleased with his effort as he came in with India still 92 runs short of victory. It could have been a bit tricky, but along with his captain, the Mumbai batsman showed composure and also gained confidence with a much-needed half-century.

Gill, who hit his ninth half-century in ODIs, was undoubtedly the batting star of the day. He had six fours and two sixes in his knock, but the short-arm pick-up took off Marcus Stoinis left everyone stunned.

Off-spinner Matthew Short was at the receiving end when he was lifted over long-off for the other six.

Gaikwad, who was due to switch to T20 mode in another two weeks, had 10 boundaries to his credit. He hit tire drives and square drives and was particularly hard hit Sean Abbott.

For Australia, the only bright spot was the leg brace Adam Zampa find a bowling form with figures of 2/57 off 10 overs.

But the game-changer on the day was Shami, who doesn’t appear to feature in India’s first XI plans for the World Cup. He literally made a statement with his second five-wicket haul in ODIs.

His performances also put enormous pressure on the weakest link among pacers Shardul Thakur (0/78 in 10 overs), who has been selected in the 15, primarily because of his batting abilities.

Shami was literally unplayable in his opening form, then bounced back to remove a set Steve Smith (41 off 60 balls) in a brief second, to disrupt the visiting team’s momentum.

Well-built wicketkeeper Jos Inglis (45 off 45 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (29 off 21 balls) added 62 runs for the sixth wicket to take Australia past the 250-run mark, but it was decidedly below par when Shami got Stoinis in nick time to put the brakes on their scoring.

Warner (52 off 53 balls), Smith and Marnus Labuschagne (39 off 49 balls) all got going but the lack of conversion hurt the Aussies on a day when the Indian bowling unit was highly effective without being exceptional.

All eyes were trained on Ravichandran Ashwin (1/47 in 10 overs) and he found his rhythm in the second spell after looking rusty during the first spell. He went for 36 in his first six overs from the ‘Harbhajan Singh End’ but Rahul changed his end during the second spell and it read 4-0-11-1.

The Australian team also suffered due to freak bounces, first when Labuschagne missed an Ashwin delivery while trying to play a reverse sweep and the ball ricocheted off Rahul’s pads with the batter out of his ground.

So it was Cameron Green (31 off 52 balls) who slowly but steadily set it up with Inglis before a miscommunication led to his run-out.

But no praise will be enough for Shami, probably the most versatile seam and swing bowler of his generation, who has magic in those fingers and wrists.

In his very first over, Shami bowled one that moved in the air and just strayed after tossing. It was full and struck at a length where Mitchell Marsh had to push forward and the thick outside edge was a regulation catch for Shubman Gill.

But the turning point was Shami’s second spell where he bowled a sharp in-cutter that backfired enough and Smith, who was late to react, inside edged onto the stumps.

In his third spell, he bowled a stump and Stoinis’ lift over the line saw his stumps uprooted. It was difficult for India to lose after Shami’s effort.

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