That Kedar Jadhav is an indispensable part of the ODI set-up; today's ODI testified it to the hilt. The right-hander top-scored with an unbeaten 87-ball 81, besides filling in as the fifth bowler, and along with MS Dhoni [59*] took India out of trouble waters after a stutter in what looked like an innocuous run-chase of 237 at the halfway mark.
On a track where shot-making was difficult, Jadhav and Dhoni soaked in the pressure really well after a brief stutter had left the team reeling at 4-99
After 30 overs, India still needed 112 runs with the duo holding the key to their fortunes. And, Marcus Stoinis nearly dented the fortunes when he surprised Dhoni with a ball that rose sharply at his body but luckily ending up in no man's land.
The Australian bowlers consistently bowled cross-seam, the length which, on a track where the ball was stopping a bit, was the hardest to deal with. But, Jadhav released the pressure with a boundary every time the bowlers erred on their length, hitting Zampa inside-out while short-arm jabbing the fast bowlers.
Dhoni too played a delightful horizontally hat shot off Behrendroff as the partnership meandered towards 50 runs before proceeding to hit Coulter-Nile on the rise over long-on.
But, Coulter-Nile, the vile bowler that he is, came back brilliantly. He beat Dhoni for pace with a short ball, with Marcus Stonis nearly pulling off a one-hand screamer at mid-on. But, as they say, the luck seems to go your way when the momentum is on your side, and it was vindicated the very next ball when a successful outside-edge off Dhoni's bat went for another boundary. That minor blip aside, Dhoni displayed sage-like calm, building his innings on hard-run singles while Kedar Jadhav unleashed the gas of his batting tank, employing short-arm jabs and full-blooded whip off the fast bowlers with disdain.
Dhoni followed suit to bring his fourth consecutive half-century against Australia, and like he had done a month ago in Australia, finished off the game with a typical Dhoni-shot over long-on to take his side to a 1-0 scoreline in the 5-match series.
Jadhav and Dhoni's partnership helped India get past the massive blip they'd suffered once Virat Kohli was dismissed LBW by Adam Zampa. Chasing 237, Rohit and Kohli had stitched a 76-run stand for the second wicket after Dhawan's poor form with the bat continued as chipped the ball straight to point for a golden duck.
But, just as it looked like the duo were taking India into a match-winning position, Adam Zampa snared Kohli by drawing him onto the front foot and nailing him leg-before-wicket. It was a difficult wicket for stroke-making, and it was testified with Rohit's dismissal. Nathan Coulter-Nile bowled the off-cutter, completely deceiving Sharma, who closed the face of the bat early to give a simple catch to Aaron Finch at mid-off. Ambati Rayudu had a great opportunity to anchor the innings but he was completely done in by Adam Zampa, who like Kohli, drew him on the front-foot as the ball turned just a fraction to take the outside edge.
The theme of batsmen getting in and throwing their wicket away was set by the Australians, earlier in the day. Not once- but twice, they suffered a collapse after a partnership of substance. The first collapse saw them lose the set pair of Usman Khawaja and Marcus Stoinis in a space of ten runs with the latter falling to Kedar Jadhav after they had added 87 runs for the second wicket following the early dismissal of Aaron Finch.
Then, when they tried to up the ante in the 36th over, Mohammad Shami, in his second spell knocked over the dangerous looking Ashton Turner and Glenn Maxwell to turn the screws on the visitors'.Shami continued his impressive run-of-form from the tours of Australia and New Zealand, and his second spell was an exhibition of disciplined line-length, pin-point accuracy, and pace.
That India pegged the momentum back was not only due to Shami; it was also a result of the stranglehold the spinners had applied in the middle-orders. Kuldeep Yadav, once again showed his importance to the side, bowling a hostile spell of wrist-spin bowling, luring the batsmen with the in-drifters and the sharp turn that outfoxed Handscomb being the standout, while Jadeja, on the other hand, bowled his overs swiftly, giving virtually nothing away.
In the end, it was left to Alex Carey and Nathan Coulter-Nile to ensure Australia bat through the 50 overs and get a respectable total; which they did by accumulating 66 vital runs for the eighth wicket to take the score to 7-236 after 50 overs.
Brief Score- Australia [7-235, Usman Khwaja 50, Mohammad Shami 2-44] lose to India [4-240, Kedar Jadahv 81*, MS Dhoni 59*, Adam Zampa 2-49] by six wickets