It is indeed a funny game… Cricket. It teaches you unsympathetic and ruthless lessons. Every game is a new one. Mahi and Co. are being exposed to this fact day in and day out as the ODI series is progressing.
While the previous matches highlighted the inability of the Indian bowlers to exert pressure on the Aussie batting in the middle overs and of course the vital skill of bowling at the ‘death’, the one-sided 5th ODI played earlier today only makes matters worse for not only the selectors, but also the team strategists. I have talked about it before, and say it again that India may well be denied the tag of World Champions simply because they have failed time and again to showcase consistent performances.
Today’s game saw the Indians winning the toss and electing to bat on a pitch that had no grass on it, and that promised to be a run fest. Did they lose the plot or what? They made a complete mockery of themselves.
A disastrous start on a batting wicket takes a lot of consolidation. But, the way the Indian middle order responded to the challenge reminded me of Johnson’s previous Indian thrashing when he took 4/11 in Kuala Lumpur.
The Indian batsmen clearly failed to judge the pace of the wicket and in the process, were undone by some quality swing bowling by Johnson, who incidentally is turning out to be perhaps the most interesting prospect for Australian Cricket after the emergence of Brett Lee.
The speedster claimed his first five-wicket haul in one-dayers, which played a major part in rattling the backbone of one of the strongest batting line-ups in the World. The hosts managed just 148, with Johnson taking the wickets of the in form Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan and Murali Kartik.
Not only did the fiery bowler’s figures of 5/26 result in the match going in Australia’s favour quite easily. It also resulted in India’s lowest total against Australia, playing at home. It helped the visitors snatch away whatever little confidence the home side had gained, with the spectators leaving the ground after 25 overs of the game.
With the thought of beating the World Champs thrown out of the window after this defeat, even drawing level from here looks an improbable task for the Twenty20 Champions…