On a dream ODI debut, Australian pacer Jason Behrendorff picked up a wicket in his very first over and this was exactly what he had joked about ahead of the match. In a nightmare start to their chase, India were reduced to four for three in the fourth over, with Behrendorff snapping up Shikhar Dhawan for a duck in the very first over.
“I was a little nervous in the first over. It shows you care and it was good fun. But I cannot ask much more than how that first over went about. I joked with a couple of guys that I would love to have a wicket in my first ODI over, and then it happened. That was one way to settle the nerves,” Behrendorff said on Sunday.
His new-ball partner Jhye Richardson left India in the lurch as well, removing Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu, and the visitors never really recovered. “Richardson and I have worked on our partnership. My main strength is to swing the ball up front. He bowls pretty quick as well. Our plan was to take wickets up front and fortunately we did that. Peter Siddle saw through the middle overs and I thought all the bowlers bowled really well. We had simple plans and executed them for the most part,” he said.
“It was unreal last night for obvious reasons. I was making my debut and to get a win against a star studded Indian team was awesome. I am extremely happy. It has been a tough road for last three years for me, but I am really focussed on white ball cricket. I just want continuity and look forward to be playing again,” he added.
Behrendorff said that despite blowing the Indian top-order away in Sydney, the hosts weren’t sure about victory and the 141-run stand between Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni caused them a lot of bother.
The hosts took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series on Saturday, winning the first ODI by 34 runs. Behrendorff took 2-39 on his ODI debut, including the wicket of Dhoni, which broke the partnership, as well as Indian hopes of an improbable win.
“That was a huge partnership. We weren’t really nervous, but we were definitely under the pump. It got to a stage that if we didn’t get a breakthrough, the game would have turned pretty quickly. But for myself to get MS and not too long after, Rohit was out too, so it was important to get that breakthrough. And it showed because once we got those two out, the game was nearly done,” Behrendorff said.
When asked about how they broke the partnership when things started to appear to be going away, the young pacer replied, “The ball might have started to reverse a little bit. I suppose we got hit into the stands a few times, which helped scuff up the ball as well. We were trying to do whatever we could, bowl cross seam, changing pace, reversing, wide delivery, whatever we could to break that big partnership.”
Australia had won only two ODIs in 2018 and now have made a winning start to this World Cup year. India meanwhile will be under the pump with a short turn-around in only a three-match series.
Behrendorff expects the Men in Blue to come hard at them in the second ODI on Tuesday to take the series into the decider at Melbourne. “We took a lot of confidence from that win knowing that a relatively new Australian team in the ODI set up was able to knock off India really well. It feels great especially with everything coming up (players returning from bans).
“But there is enough time for them to come back. It’s a new day and a new game on Tuesday, so we are all starting afresh. We are 1-0 up but if you look at their side, it is a class outfit. So we expect them to come back firing and give us a good fight on Tuesday. They will be hurting a lot but they will also come back strong,” he said.
Despite a sluggish innings, Australia are expected to name an unchanged eleven for the second ODI, with the only debate over where Glenn Maxwell should be batting.
“Tough one for Maxwell at the moment looking at the batting order, but we will see how it goes. At the moment we have a pretty good balance in the side, so we are not looking to change too many things.
“I am not sure what his right position is, but seven is a pretty crucial role in that backend and we will have him in the last few overs. We know that he can hit to any part of the ground, so if he gets a few more overs, it will justify this batting order,” he signed off.