The Virat Kohli-led India were outclassed by Australia in the first ODI with a 10-wicket loss in first ODI at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Kohli pushed himself down the order to accommodate Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan in the batting lineup. The 30-year-old managed to score just 16 runs from 14 deliveries as India succumbed to the pressure and got all out for 255 with five balls to go.
Kohli was not concerned about his batting position after the match despite the move to bat at No.4 backfiring. His ODI scores batting at no.4 are – 16, 7, 12, 11, 3*, 4, 9.
“We’ve had this discussion in the past. Because of the way KL has batted, we have tried to have him bat up in the lineup. We might have to think about this. Every now and then, it’s about putting people up there and testing them,” he said at the post-match presentation.
“People need to relax and not panic. Today was one of the days it didn’t come off.”
Kohli pointed out the mistakes Indian batsmen made. He also talked about giving game time to young cricketers.
“Totally outplayed in all three departments. It’s a very strong Australian team, and if you don’t play well enough, they will hurt you. In phases, we were too respectful against their bowlers, and didn’t take the game by the scruff of the neck. It’s another challenge to bounce back from here.”
Former India players give thumbs down to Kohli’s number four move
Former India cricketers VVS Laxman, Sanjay Manjrekar and Harbhajan Singh on Tuesday gave a thumbs down to Virat Kohli’s decision to bat at number four in the first ODI against Australia here.
“I don’t see this plan working. Even Sachin Tendulkar never liked batting at No 4 (reference to the 2007 World Cup). The last team you would like to experiment against is Australia,” Laxman told Star Sports.
“Now again it is too late to change the combination. But may be Virat can come at No 3 and Rahul at No 4. Shikhar got some runs and so will have his confidence high,” he said referring to Dhawan’s 74.
Spin great Harbhajan, who was also commentating on the game, said Kohli is the team’s best batsman and he should stick to his usual batting position. “He has won so many games for India at number three. There is no need to change that,” said Harbhajan.
Manjrekar added: “It is not a great move as it pushes Shreyas Iyer down to five after you gave him time to settle at number four (in the earlier series). If India continue with this, it might be pushed to the same situation that it was in the past.”
Finch credits visitors for fightback
Australian skipper Aaron Finch was happy with his team’s convincing win to take 1-0 lead in the three-ODI series and lauded his bowlers.
“I thought the way we fought back in the middle overs with the ball had a huge part today. The way KL and Shikhar were batting, they could have gone to a much bigger score. Proud of how we fought back. I think we could still brush up in the field. The outfield is a bit damp. Any time you beat India in India is a special feeling.”
Talking about his opening partner, David Warner, he said, “It’s been fantastic. He’s been unstoppable for a long time now. I think this is his 18th ODI ton and 10th in the last 2-3 years.”
This was David Warner’s first ODI in India since serving his international ban. Warner scored 128 runs from 112 deliveries including 17 fours and three sixes. The southpaw was pleased with his performance and Australian fast bowlers on a flat Wankhede wicket.
“I think I’ve always had the hunger and desire for runs. It’s just a great effort from our fast bowlers to knock India over for 255. We wanted to just protect the Powerplay. We got off to a flier, and we were very clinical in the end,” he said.
“For us, it’s about keeping rotating the strike and taking the odd boundary here and there. it’s about taking the game deep. We knew if we were there at the end, we would win.”
We complement each other well: Warner on partnership with Finch
Warner and Aaron Finch dislodged the Indian attack by sharing an unbeaten 258-run stand in their pursuit of the 256-run target and the left-handed batsman said both of them complement each other well and know their roles.
“We complement each other on the field and we’re great mates off the field as well. We know each other’s games and personalities well. We have honest conversations. If we’re playing shots that we wouldn’t, we reassure each other about that,” said Warner. “It’s just great to go out there and play the way that we do. When he’s (Finch) going I know what my role is and when I’m going he knows what he’s role is and we communicate that straight away and that’s the best thing about our partnership.”
“When you come to Wankhede, it always swings and there’s a little bit of seam movement. Fortunately tonight they over-pitched quite a bit to Finchy (Finch), and he was able to get on the front foot and put them away. We tried to make the most of those over-pitched deliveries and we got off to a good start,” he said.
“The most pleasing thing for me was seeing Finchy transfer his weight into the ball very well. Tonight was probably the best that I’ve ever seen him bat. The way he played was fantastic. It was great to have that winning partnership and be clinical there and (win) none down,” Warner added.
So was he and Finch looking at the 2023 World Cup as opening partners and pat came the reply. “We’ll speak to our wives first. We’ll both be 36 or 37. I’ve got three kids and I hope that’s the last one. We’ll take one step at a time. We’ll look to the next game in Rajkot. We actually spoke about this in the team meeting – not looking too far ahead,” Warner said.