India fell in a tricky spot in the first ODI against Australia in Mumbai on Friday, but a responsible 108*-run stand between KL Rahul (75*) and Ravindra Jadeja (45*) saw the hosts chase down a 189-run target in 39.5 overs, despite being 39/4 at one stage. India were being led by Hardik Pandya in the match with Rohit Sharma missing the game due to a personal commitment. Pandya took the crucial wicket of Steve Smith and then scored a crucial 25 off 31 balls after the Indian top-order had faltered. There was point in his innings when he faced a free-hit delivery from Marcus Stoinis in the 18th over.
Pandya mistimed his pull off the free-hit delivery, which was a slower one, and it resulted in one run. After the delivery, the TV cameras showed Virat Kohli reacting in a quite animated way. It is not clear why Kohli was a bit agitated.
Watch: Virat Kohli’s Reaction After Hardik Pandya Faces Free-hit Delivery
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Meanwhile, Pandya gave a big thumbs up to the embattled Rahul and Jadeja, following India’s five-wicket win against Australia in the first ODI here, saying they had a huge calming effect on those watching from the sidelines. Rahul, who was dropped for the third and fourth Tests against Australia because of poor form, was instrumental in helping the hosts take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
“I am really proud the way we played today. Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) did what he was supposed to do coming back after eight months away from ODIs. I enjoyed my bowling and batting, would have loved to finish it off, but the way KL (Rahul) and Jaddu batted, it was calming to those watching from the outside,” said Pandya, the stand-in India skipper for the match at Wankhede.
Rahul, who mostly opens for India, was brought at No.5 following his Test disappointments. But despite the chips being down, he played patiently, consuming 96 balls for his well-made 75.
Pandya conceded India were under pressure while bowling as well as batting, but in the end the team’s composure saw it through.
Mitchell Marsh’s 65-ball 81 and the quick start the visitors got did put India under some stress but Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Jadeja kept chipping away with timely wickets to finally bundle out Australia for 188 in 35.4 overs.
With PTI inputs