Virat Kohli’s men started right on a tone they wouldn’t like, giving away 374 runs in 50 overs with rival captain Aaron Finch (114 of 124 balls) and its illustrious predecessor Steve Smith (105 of 66 balls) hitting contrasting hundreds.
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A throw that looked docile during the first half suddenly came to life in the second when Josh Hazlewood (3/55) came out of the Indian top, including Kohli and a frightened Shreyas Iyer, who got himself confused.
Pandya’s 76-ball 90 and a 128-run stand with senior opener Shikhar Dhawan (74 of 86 balls) slowed the inevitable, but it was always a catch-up game after the team was cut to 101 for 4 within 14 overs.
9️⃣0️⃣ runs7️⃣6️⃣ balls7️⃣ boundaries4️⃣ sixesWell played Hardik Pandya 💥👌🏻 #TeamIndia #AUSvIND Scorecard:… https://t.co/ha819gYbNU
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Generous leg spinner Adam Zampa (4/54 in 10 overs) sent Dhawan and Pandya out in quick succession as India surrendered to scoreboard pressure, finishing 308/8 after 50 overs.
Pandya, who hit seven fours and four sixes, wore his flaming IPL strike form in the first game of the series, but it was his fast-medium bowling that Kohli missed on the day as he had no options when Smith put his regular bowlers on learning hunt.
India missed a sixth bowling option and none of their specialist hitters were good enough to roll their arms even for two or three overs.
It was a day when the bowling alley stopped Mohammed Shami (3/59 in 10 overs) flopped badly and bad fielding only added to their misery.
As many as three sitters were deposed and numerous sloppy attempts on the field added to the misery.
The normally stable Yuzvendra Chahal (1/89 in 10 overs) earned the shame of worst grades by an Indian spinner and Jasprit Bumrah’s wretched ODI form (1/73 in 10 overs) carried on.
India’s fastest bowler Navdeep saini (1/83 in 10 overs) also struggled like any newcomer, unable to get the correct length on Australian tracks.
Ravindra Jadeja (0/63 in 10 overs) was not as expensive as Chahal, but his bowling has been down for the past two and a half months.
India’s perennial nemesis Smith appears poised to harass them a lot for the next two months if his eleven and four sixes were any indication on Friday.
Not once was he bothered by the Indian bowlers, who were already under the pump after an opening score of 156 runs between Finch and David Warner (69).
Much credit goes to Warner and Finch for the way they attacked Chahal.
While Finch used his feet to choke the spin and hit the turn, Warner was left in the crease to hit Chahal with the turn, completely disrupting his line and length.
It helped as Smith and Maxwell (45 of 19 balls) had no problems skinning the bowlers in the last 10 overs.
In the chase, Mitchell Starc’s quirky first over that cost of 20 runs gave India much-needed impetus at the start, but Hazlewood’s beautiful short bowling marked the end of Mayank Agarwal (22 of 18 balls), Kohli (21 in 21 balls) left the visitors out of its kind in an instant.
Vice captain KL Rahul (12) couldn’t stop an innocent full throw from Zampa and India was in serious trouble before 15 overs had ended.
A high percentage of point balls (148) in the Indian innings also showed that only one team dominated the procedure.