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Cricket news - Australia stutter to post 236

Shami picked up the two wickets of Maxwell and Handscomb at a crucial time to dent Australia.

This was certainly not a flat surface like many had anticipated before the toss. It was certainly not a 236-run wicket as well. A stuttering Australia could manage only that with India's bowling attack, oozing with confidence before the World Cup, making an impact yet again. Like has been the case for a while now, India found a way to keep striking in the middle overs that eventually restricted Australia to a below-par total.

Mohammad Shami started proceedings with a maiden, and from the other end Jasprit Bumrah made full use of the bounce that was on offer early to dismiss Aaron Finch for a duck. The Australian captain, already going through a lean patch, was surprised by the bounce and with the ball straightening a touch after pitching on a good length, he was a goner with MS Dhoni taking a simple catch off the resultant outside edge. Usman Khawaja and Marcus Stoinis, promoted up the order in the 50-over format too for a change, found the going tough in the initial phase with both Shami and Bumrah going through an excellent spell.

It took a change in the bowling attack at both ends just before the powerplay for both batsmen to finally take their chances. Vijay Shankar was cut for a boundary by Stoinis and Kuldeep Yadav was struck for a six straight over his head by Khawaja. Vijay continued to adopt a short-ball strategy with his pace and with the pitch also starting to ease out, Stoinis took full toll collecting three more boundaries, following which Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav were brought into the attack.

The two batsmen batted with caution, resurrecting the innings but at the end of the 20-over mark, Australia had posted only 87, needing one of them to press on the accelerator. But the first ball of the 21st yielded a wicket when Stoinis hit a short ball from Jadhav straight to Virat Kohli at short-midwicket much to the crowd's delight. Three overs later, the other well-set batsman, Khawaja, fell immediately after reaching his fifty. Khawaja stepped down the track to Kuldeep and connected it from the middle of the bat but it didn't have enough power to take the ball over the midwicket boundary. Vijay, running from the deep, collected a good catch to put Australia in a spot of bother.

At the halfway mark, Australia had made only 101 and were once again reliant on Glenn Maxwell to rescue them. Having already struck a fifty and a hundred in the T20I series, Maxwell got going straightaway. He fetched a boundary each off Bumrah and Kuldeep through the covers to move to 14 off 12, and at the other end, Peter Handscomb looked assured giving Australia hopes of making a comeback. But once again, a batsman who appeared to well set was dismissed before he could get going.

Kuldeep deceived Handscomb in the flight with Dhoni completing the formalities behind the stumps. Debutant Ashton Turner played a couple of delightful shots alongside Maxwell but Australia needed them badly in the final ten. Shami, who had bowled an excellent new-ball spell without getting rewarded, finally struck by getting rid of both batsmen. Shami first bowled a slower ball at a shortish length that disturbed the stumps after getting Turner's inside edge and in the 40th over, Maxwell surprisingly missed a straight ball on off stump to leave Australia reeling at 173/6 after 40 overs. Alex Carey struggled for timing to begin his innings but alongside Nathan Coulter-Nile, the wicketkeeper-batsman added 62 vital runs for the seventh wicket to drag Australia to a respectable score.

Brief scores: Australia 236/7 in 50 overs (Usman Khawaja 50, Glenn Maxwell 40; Mohammed Shami 2-44, Kuldeep Yadav 2-46) vs India.

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