In the first-ever bilateral ODI series down under between India and Australia, the pitches laid out seem to be more of the same that greeted that Kiwis in the extremely high-scoring Test series that just concluded in Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne (the D&N game where the scores were low).
After winning its first two warm-up games against a second-string Western Australia lineup, the Indians came to Perth to face the No. 1 ranked ODI team and World Champions (again) with high confidence. Coming off a 3-0 mauling of South Africa back home, the spinners strutted around like champions, while the batsmen – who even performed well here in the last Test series, which they lost 2-0 – had no reasons to be worried about. After all, Perth wasn’t the same Perth where the likes of Wasim Akram and Curtly Ambrose ran through scared opposition line-ups. It wasn’t the Perth where a young Sachin Tendulkar made his name and scored his first Test century against a fiery Aussie bowling attack.
This was the Perth, which allowed Ross Taylor score 290 and break all sorts of records only last month. It was a flat, relatively slow-ish batting paradise, where the bounce remained true and the ball met the bat nicely at perfect speeds and heights.
After losing only three wickets in their innings, and scoring their highest-ever ODI score in Australia (309), the Indians were even more confident. But they lost miserably, after their highly rated spinners showed why they’re not the same human beings when they step out of the country. Newly crowned No. 1 R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja struggled with their lines, length and loop – allowing Steve Smith and George Bailey to maul them into submission. Just like that, India found themselves 1-0 down yet again.
However, the likes of Rohit Sharma broke a few records in the process. Let’s take a look at some of the stats from the game:
171 – the highest score by an overseas batsman in an ODI in Australia, breaking Viv Richards’ score of 153.
69 – Rohit’s average against Australia after completing 1000 ODI runs in only 19 innings, the fastest by any batsman ever against them
70 – Number of sighs shared by Rohit when he phoned Sachin Tendulkar after the game to ask him how he dealt with always scoring centuries in a losing cause. This is Rohit’s second 150 in a losing cause (out of 4).
3 – ODI centuries by Rohit in Australia. The first came in Melbourne last year in the tri-series, the second against Bangladesh in the quarters of the World Cup. Only VVS Laxman has scored as many ODI centuries here.
4 – Number of ODI 150s scored by Rohit (out of his nine centuries). Only Tendulkar (5) has scored more.
4 – Number of ODI centuries scored by Rohit in a losing cause, second to only Tendulkar’s 14 over a 400+ match career.
4 – IQ of fans who now argue that Rohit scoring a century definitely will result in India losing the match (this is Rohit’s third consecutive international century in a losing cause).
3 – Number of wickets lost by India in their innings, the first team to do this in Australia. Yet they lost.
1 – Number of ODI fifties by Virat Kohli against Australia in Australia
4 – Number of Test centuries (in the same series) by Virat Kohli against Australia in Australia
4 – Number of people who believe Ravi Shastri when he says that his spinners can bowl anywhere, on any pitch not laid out by him.