Many had predicted India to finally come good and win their first game in Australia this summer. After all, their ODI outfit is twice as strong as their test team, and MS Dhoni was back to lead the team.
What then unfolded will probably be known as the match that broke the Indian defense of their World Cup title.
The manner in which the Indians unfolded and batted against a team that consistently troubles them with swing and seam, is beyond worrying, but only confirms that, overseas, this Indian ODI team lacks any sort of experience and class. Their performances in South Africa and New Zealand proved it, but their win at the Champions Trophy in England followed by an ODI series win when Cook was pulling his team down covered it up for a while.
But now, MS Dhoni’s men have well and truly been exposed. Again.
As expected, Dhawan failed again at the top, after in-form Rohit Sharma was ruled out due to a hamstring niggle. Rahane again threw away a good start, and Raina tried to go after Moeen again to get stumped, while Rayadu again proved that he has a long way to go before he can be called a World Cup player.
It all went wrong from the beginning.
There was no resistance, as Jimmy Anderson returned to haunt his bunnies. Kohli again fell to bounce, and Finn cashed in on the Indians’ lack of pitch reading. Finn then picked up 4 more soft wickets, as Binny proved to be the only player who was willing to put up a fight with bat and ball.
What’s worse is that India’s bowlers looked worse than they did at the MCG, and gave away runs to Bell and Taylor like free food at a Gurudwara. There was no control, no pace, little swing, and no line. This didn’t look like a no. 2 ranked team. It looked like a team who peaked long ago, and was now on a downward spiral during a long tour that might culminate in a disastrous Cup campaign. This tri-series may be an ideal experiment for them, but they are not getting better in any way, even losing to a team that has struggled in these conditions for years.
Suddenly, Anderson and co. looked like world-beaters again.
And suddenly, India looked like they were back to the 90s all over again.
This is the team that could well play most games in the World Cup. That is quite a frightening thought.