India's MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya run between the wickets during the first ODI in Chennai on Sunday. Pic/PTI
India's escape to victory in Chennai has given them the head start in the ODI series and Michael Clarke blamed Steve Smith for handing them the keys. At 87 for five in the 22nd over, India were truly in jail and Clarke chided Smith for not going for the kill.
Michael Clarke and Steve Smith
"You needed to bring your frontline bowlers back and get MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya out. Against a competent side like India, these are moments you need to seize and it's not as if the Australians don't know that," the former Australia skipper said at a function here yesterday. "Smith knows that Australia are at their best when they are aggressive," he added.
After the searing pace and swing of Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile had rattled the Indians at the start, Marcus Stoinis slipped in the short stuff to telling effect. India needed a 118-run partnership between Dhoni and Pandya to drag them out of the hole they were pushed into. The hosts managed to set a challenging target of 282 in 50 overs. India won by 26 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method. "As a batsman, Smith is right up there. He and Virat Kohli are the two best batsmen in the world right now. But Smith's captaincy is now being challenged. He needs to define the way for his team to find success. It will be very important for them to win at the Eden (on Thursday)," Clarke said.
Clarke sees the Aussie batting coming good, specially David Warner, who scored 25 in Chennai. "I think his scores in Bangladesh (recently) will be hard to overlook. Chennai was just one game. He will find ways to score, he always does. He will have a great impact in the series. He and Smith will be the leading scorers for Australia. Hopefully, they will start in Kolkata," he said.
With Brad Hogg around, the focus shifted to Kuldeep Yadav, another chinaman bowler. "I'm fortunate to have played with him (for Kolkata Knight Riders). He's a very good listener and really works on his fitness and it's paying dividends," said Hogg. "I'm very impressed with his progress. He'll be something special in the years to come," he added.
Also View Photos: The Ex Effect: 12 cricketers and their failed affairs with actresses
Watch video: Sports stars and their swanky and cool cars
Download the new mid-day android app to get updates on all the latest and trending stories on the go https://goo.gl/8Xlcvr