Chasing a modest target of 200 runs for victory, India could find themselves in early trouble at 20-4 when Kohli top-edged a pull shot to square leg, where Marsh was stationed to seize the opportunity.However, the catch went begging, and Kohli survived with just 12 runs to his name at that point.
Hazlewood shed light on the incident, suggesting that Marsh may have been distracted by wicketkeeper Alex Carey’s presence, who was also converging on the catch.
Hazlewood, who went on to claim three of the four Indian wickets to fall that day, explained, “I didn’t think Carey could get there. I think it was Mitch’s catch and probably just Carey got quite close in the end so it might have just put Mitch off.” Hazlewood recognized that such drops are part of the game and added, “Yeah, he dropped a catch, it’s one of those things that happens, and everyone’s training hard and working hard off the field to hang on to them. So, yeah, we’ll continue on.”
After the escape, Kohli went on to score his 67th ODI half-century and played a pivotal role alongside KL Rahul (97 not out) in a match-winning 165-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Kohli was eventually dismissed for 85, caught by Marnus Labuschagne off Hazlewood.
Australia, a five-time World Cup winner, eventually succumbed to the hosts, losing by six wickets after being bowled out for 199 on a spin-friendly pitch. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja played a starring role for India, taking three crucial wickets, including that of Steve Smith, who managed 46 before his dismissal.
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Hazlewood’s contribution with the ball included dismissing India’s captain Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer for ducks, leaving India in dire straits at three down for just two runs. Despite the defeat, Hazlewood emphasised that the team would not overanalyze the loss, recognizing that they might encounter similar conditions in future matches.
“We might come up against these conditions again at other grounds throughout the next eight games,” Hazlewood noted. “You know we might have to reassess and say yeah 260 is a good score rather than 300-plus to what we’ve seen on a few other grounds.”
In the initial innings, Australia elected to bat but lost Marsh for a duck early on. David Warner (41) and Smith managed to rebuild the innings, but Kuldeep Yadav’s breakthrough wicket of Warner initiated a collapse, and Australia crumbled from 110-2 to 140-7 before being bowled out in 49.3 overs.
Reflecting on the challenging conditions, Hazlewood said, “Batting in that first innings, that was probably as extreme as the conditions are going to get. I think, in terms of spin and playing spin throughout the middle and trying to find ways to score, we have to keep that run rate ticking over without losing wickets.”
(With inputs from AFP)