Breaking the top three
Indian captain Virat Kohli's performance at the number three position has proven vital to India in recent years. It is part of a prolific top three consisting of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan which made India's top order one of the biggest strengths that the team has. While Rahul played well his 127-run stand with Dhawan was one of the few positive points for India in the match Kohli failed to fire. Experimenting with one of their biggest strengths in a match against a team that have not lost a bilateral limited overs series since January 2019 turned out to be a doomed decision.
Kohli being pushed down to number four led to Kedar Jadhav losing a place in the team. It meant that when India were down to five wickets with Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa closing in on them, the hosts had to depend upon a woefully out of form Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja to resurrect the innings. Neither could get into their preferred flow of boundaries and sixes and the scorecard pressure caught up with them.
India's top-heavy batting order has misfired in the recent past and their bowling has often saved them the blushes. What was different at the Wankhede on Tuesday was that their strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah is still returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury while the rest missed the desired marks by inches. This was coupled with the fact that they were facing an opening pair of Finch and Warner who average over 106 in partnerships against India. They ended up bettering their own record for the highest opening stand by Australia against India.
( With inputs from IANS )