Watch: Kohli fumes at Hardik after he fails to take advantage of free-hit vs Aus | Cricket


Despite a few hiccups here and there, Team India registered a cruising victory over Australia in the first ODI of the three-match series in Mumbai. The side bowled the visitors out for merely 188 and then rode on KL Rahul’s unbeaten 75 to chase the target down with over 10.1 overs and five wickets remaining. After Hardik Pandya, the stand-in captain for the game in place of Rohit Sharma, won the toss and invited the Aussies to bat, India pacer Mohammad Siraj dismissed Travis Head in the second over of the match. But the other Australian opener, Mitchell Marsh, along with stand-in captain Steve Smith, quickly shifted the back towards the visitors with some lusty hitting.

Hardik Pandya; Virat Kohli(Hotstar)
Hardik Pandya; Virat Kohli(Hotstar)

Hardik dislodged the pair by taking the important wicket of Smith. Marsh, at the other end, continued to attack. He was finally dismissed for 81 off 65 balls by Ravindra Jadeja. That was the turning point as far as the Australian innings was concerned. India applied the brakes followed by some breathtaking bowling by Siraj and Mohammed Shami. They ran through the Australian middle-order by picking three wickets each.

India did face early setbacks with Mitchell Starc delivering early blows; Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, and Suryakumar Yadav were dismissed cheaply while Ishan Kishan was the first to fall, courtesy of a brilliant opening over from Marcus Stoinis. However, Rahul (75*) forged a 44-run stand alongside Pandya (25) to bring some stability in the Indian innings, and then put 108 runs for the sixth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (45*) to take India home in the match.

Also read: Watch: Hardik Pandya loses cool, has animated chat with umpire after Mitchell Marsh pulls out citing sight screen issue

In hindsight, India did reach a fairly straightforward win but the match wasn’t devoid of drama, even after Starc’s opening spell. Things turned rather dramatic in the 18th over of the match, when Stoinis decided to disrupt Pandya’s focus with some aggression; in his fourth ball, however, Stoinis overstepped the mark and justifiably, a no ball was called.

However, Pandya couldn’t make the most of the free hit as he pulled the delivery for a single. After his shot, Virat Kohli wasn’t too happy at the free hit not being utilised, as he had a annoyed look on his face.

Watch: Virat Kohli reacts after Hardik Pandya fails to take advantage of free hit in 1st ODI vs Australia

Stoinis eventually dismissed Pandya in his next over but Rahul and Jadeja ensured India reach a resounding win to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The second ODI of the series takes place on March 19 in Visakhapatnam, and will see the return of Rohit Sharma as captain of the side. Rohit had skipped the first match of the series ‘due to family commitments’, according to a BCCI release last month.




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