Haddin and Symonds shine in Australia’s 84 Run Win over India
India vs Australia 2nd ODI, Kochi
Australia 306 for 6 (Haddin 87*, Symonds 87, Hayden 75, Sreesanth 3-67) beat India 222 (Dhoni 58, Hogg 3-40) by 84 runs
Australia rightly claimed the 1-0 lead that they had threatened during Saturday’s washed-out series opener at Bangalore, by dominating their authority over India with an 84-run victory that was achieved even in the absence of their Captain Ricky Ponting. Mahendra Singh Dhoni put the Australians in to bat in the hope of exploiting the wet conditions present in the ground due to overnight rainfall, but as the sun dried out the pitch and its surrounding area, India’s hopes also quickly evaporated as first, Australia amassed a total of 306 for 6, then prised out 10 Indian wickets with clinical efficiency.
With all the rain in the past few days in Kochi, the decision at the toss was always going to be an important one but Dhoni’s decision to bowl first, having chosen to play two spinners and to leave out a medium-pacer, proved to be a gamble of sorts on the weather intervening. That said, it seemed to be working as planned when Australia were reduced to 8 for 2, with their standing Captain Adam Gilchrist back in the pavilion without opening his account
Adam Gilchrist was dismissed for a duck as he was out by edging a Zaheer Khan ball straight to Sachin Tendulkar at first slip. Brad Hodge then played a forcing shot off Sreesanth and nicked to the keeper & Indian Captain Dhoni who completed a regulation catch, getting the Kochi crowd roaring in frenzy as the local boy had scalped a wicket. India were pumped up, but they would have known that only days ago in the 1st ODI at Bangalore that Australia recovered from 90 for 4 to post a total of more than 300.
Matthew Hayden who likes to dominate the bowlers, by walking down the pitch and heaving over the infield. But after his indiscreet shot in the last game, and considering the fact that the ball was not really coming onto the bat here in Kochi, he buckled down and played well within himself. There was still the odd muscular shot, thumped back down the ground past the bowler, and the slog-sweep over square-leg off the spinners, but largely the runs were added without much flash by milking the bowlers to get quick singles & two’s.
Michael Clarke hung around with Hayden for a time to stage a recovering partnership, he was clipping the ball efficiently off his pads, but a brilliant bit of work from Dhoni standing behind thestumps, whipping the bails off in a flash standing up to Irfan Pathan, cut short Clarke’s innings.
But then another big man, Andrew Symonds, joined Hayden out in the middle, and the two judged the state of play to perfection & helped Australia to reach a respectable total.
Brad Haddin doesn’t get to play many games as a wicketkeeper-batsman especially with Gilchrist being the first name written down in Australia’s Playing 11 List, but today Haddin had to perform for himself and his team and he delivered magnificently. While Symonds took over the role of senior partner following Hayden’s dismissal, Haddin kept the scoreboard ticking over and the runs continued to come even as Australia ensured that wickets did not fall in a heap to avoid a further collapse. Symonds and Haddin added 108 for the fifth wicket before they were separated when Symonds misread a slower ball from Sreesanth in the last slog overs of the innings and hit the ball high rather than far, and was caught and bowled on 87 off only 83 balls. The unseemly and over exaggerated celebration that followed from Sreesanth was certainly way over the top and could easily attract the attention of the match referee,
but the wicket of Symonds was just the breakthrough what India needed desperately.
What the Indians would not have anticipated was Haddin’s response in this match.
A quick 40 would have been sufficient but Haddin batted right through to the end of the innings for an unbeaten 87 and sealed the deal for the Aussies. All through the Australian innings one senior batsman took charge of the situation, starting with Hayden and moving to Symonds before Haddin applied the finishing touches with some lusty blows. Accelerating perfectly with sweetly timed clunks over the leg side, Haddin’s 87 came off only 69 balls as Australia ended on 306 for 6. which was a very competitive score even for the strong batting line up of India on their home conditions.
Chasing a big target of 307 runs, India needed a good start, if not a frantically quick one. But, apart from a risky and audacious knock from Robin Uthappa at No. 3, there was little resistance from the famed top-order as India lost half their line-up with only 136 on the board.
It was Gautam Gambhir who was dismissed first, bowled by a superb ball from Mitchell Johnson that pitched and cut back in sharply to force a gap between his bat and pad. Tendulkar square-drove uppishly and was smartly caught by Symonds at short point. Yuvraj Singh heaved one six off a free hit but soon fell in a left-handed impression of the Tendulkar dismissal. In the middle of all this mini collapse Uthappa continued his Twenty20 form, striking a straight six off Lee, driving on the rise through mid-on and cover-driving with careful placement. Uthappa had raced to 41 off only 30 balls but alas, he couldn’t convert this into a big knock as fell across his stumps and was trapped in front by the ever-accurate Stuart Clark.
A period of consolidating partnership between Dhoni and Rahul Dravid kept India in the hunt, even if they were only limping along, but when Dravid was brilliantly caught on the ropes by Johnson off Brad Hogg, the game was all but finished for Team India. Pathan was run out soon after in frantic style,
Harbhajan was stumped attempting a wild slog and Powar was nailed by a quick one from Clarke.
Brad Hogg picked up three easy wickets even as Dhoni resolutely refused to give his wicket away and helped himself to a half-century with virtually no support from the other end, but it made no difference to the outcome of the match as India were comprehensively outplayed by the World Champions.