A bright and sunny Adelaide Oval was all set to stage the first warm-up game between India & Australia. The sun hats were on, the sunscreen applied in the right proportion and the sunglasses gave a rather ‘cool’ view of the proceedings. Proceedings out in the middle were not that cool enough for India though after Australia elected to bat and posted a total of 371. In reply, India could manage 265 falling short by 106 runs.
It all started off in the very first ball of the match as David Warner crashed a Stuart Binny loosner to the covers. Ball-one next over, different bowler, different batsman, the result though was the same. Australia had made their intentions clear very early in the innings that this could well be a warm-up game but they were here to make a statement early on in the tournament.
In the following over, Warner hit a cover drive; the shot so sweet that the impact of the bat hitting the ball echoed the whole of Adelaide Oval.
Aaron Finch at the other end played able ally to his partner Warner, though it was the left-hander who took center stage on most occasions. A select sect of Indian fans who made it to the ground were mum through the course of a Warner-Finch onslaught, only to rise up and give out the loudest cheer of the afternoon a little while later as Finch holed out at mid-on to Virat Kohli.
Meanwhile, Warner at the other continued what he was doing right since the start of his innings - scoring at will. Watson got going for a brief period until he was undone by a Mohit Sharma bouncer to be caught by Axar Patel for 22. Umesh Yadav at the other end had managed to rack-up some pace and he too joined the wicket-takers’ list as he bowled Steve Smith for 1. Smith walked too far across his stumps trying to chip the ball from middle and off - a tactic that had worked for him this Australian summer; not to work this Adelaide noon though.
Australia had lost three wickets; two of them in quick succession but not reason enough to cap the flow of runs. They maintained a steady run-rate of close to 7 as they brought up their 100 and 150 in the 13th & 22nd over respectively. Warner soon brought up his century of 81 balls in the 27th over and received a loud applause from the fans and dressing room alike.
A boundary later, he was out bowled by Axar Patel trying to make room on the offside. Warner walked back to the pavilion scoring a solid 104.
Bailey and Glenn Maxwell continued from where Warner had left; Bailey being more conventional, Maxwell displaying his array of shots. The duo put up a 42-run partnership for the fifth wicket until Bailey was out caught at point trying to cut Shami for 44.
Maxwell meanwhile stroked his way to a half century that was laced with four boundaries and a couple of sixes. The big show was not done yet; he carted the Indian bowlers all round the park as if it were child’s play. He shuffled across the crease; reverse swept, made room, stepped out and used his feet to advantage. Some of the shots were clubbed with utter disrespect. Baseball anyone? He got to his century with a boundary and ultimately retired himself out with a score of 122 from just 57 balls. Australia had by then reached a score of 345 and added 26 more runs before being bowled out. India were set a target of 372.
India in pursuit of the target had a dodgy start with openers Shikhar Dhawan & Rohit Sharma being beaten by pace and bounce and occasionally finding the middle of the bat. Rohit then edged Josh Hazlewood while batting on 8 attempting a cut outside off-stump. Then came an array of beautiful strokes from the bats of Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan. The pair looked promising to sail along but Virat Kohli played on while on 18. Dhawan though, after a dearth of runs finally looked in his elements and stuck at the crease for the longest he has in blue this summer. Ajinkya Rahane at the other end looked confident like his partner. A typical Rahane on display - aggressive when required and patient when need be.
India marched along well courtesy Rahane & Dhawan and the duo put up a hundred-run stand. Dhawan making optimum use of his stay at the middle and Rahane collecting as much runs possible to keep him in good stead before the big games in the tournament. Both batsmen brought up their respective fifties and made good use of the conditions on offer. Rahane finally departed for a 52-ball 66 trying to clear mid-on only to pouch Mitchell Marsh an easy catch. Four overs later Dhawan too made the walk back to the pavilion as he was caught at mid-on miscuing a pull off Mitchell Johnson’s bowling. India then lost Raina to a run-out and MS Dhoni out caught off a blinder by Starc at the boundary and India had lost three wickets in a space of just one run.
Australia’s mammoth target looked impossible to chase and the batsmen to follow tried to spend some time in the middle. Binny got out trying to be aggressive while Ambati Rayudu kept the Indian fans cheered up with a flurry of shots to the boundary. In the process he brought up his half century and continued to bide his time in the middle till he mistimed a pull shot off Josh Hazlewood. Rayudu’s resistance had finally come to an end and the remainder of the two wickets fell cheaply with the score reading 265. India would take half centuries from Dhawan, Rahane & Rayudu as positives with concerns still looming large on the bowling front.
Australia - 371 all out, G Maxwell 122*(57), D Warner 104 (83), M Shami 3/83
India - 265, A Rahane 66 (52), S Dhawan 59 (71), A Rayudu 53 (42), P Cummins 3/30
Result - Australia won by 106 runs