India skipper Virat Kohli on Sunday termed all-rounder Hardik Pandya as a “great asset” to Indian cricket after his starring role in the hosts’ series-clinching five-wicket win over Australia in Indore.
India chased down Australia’s below-par total of 293 with more than two overs to and five wickets in hand to take the five-match series 3-0. The opening Indian duo of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane gave India a spectacular start with both the batsmen scoring 71 and 70 respectively. “He (Pandya) is a star”, a delighted Kohli said after the win.
20 – Sixes hit by Pandya against spinners in his ODI career, compared to just the five against quick bowlers.
Australia has won just three out of 17 matches across all three formats since the ODI series victory at home against Pakistan in January.
Then, India pulled things under control and picked wickets at regular intervals to peg back the visitors. They bowled extremely well with the new ball. Probably not the same kind of batting line-up as Hayden, Gilchrist or Ponting, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey were there but I think this is a very good Australian team.
After opting to bat first in the Indore ODI, Aussies got off to a good start with openers – David Warner (42) and Aaron Finch (124) providing a solid platform at the top. Winning the toss for the first time on the tour, Smith simply had no hesitation in taking first strike on a batting paradise.
Finch then scored his first ODI hundred on Asian soil off 110 balls. In his you career, so far, Pandya has played some brilliant knocks for India in the middle order.
With the bat, Pandya showed once again how effective his brute slogging in the shorter-format as he brought up his fourth ODI half-century.
Some Indian cricketers took the opportunity and shone on their debuts against Australia, while others flattered to deceive and eventually faded away. India’s two trump cards, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, had gone for 45 and 50 runs from six and eight overs respectively. Between November 2008 and February 2009, India had a run of as many successive victories.
Coming back to the current Australian team, they look soft and are not sure of their game plan and going by this series have looked puzzled and in certain situations dumbfounded.