In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Rahul was named captain for the first two ODIs against Australia. He scored an impressive undefeated 58 runs in India’s five-wicket victory, claiming a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, which serves as a crucial dress rehearsal ahead of the World Cup.”Not the first time, always happens with me.I’m used to it, I love it,” Rahul said about leading the side in place of regular skipper Rohit Sharma.
“I think the intensity in the afternoon was great, after Colombo this felt like heaven at the start but it was really hot and humid. It gets tough and physically challenging, but we’ve all worked on our fitness and that’s showing on the field.”
Rahul emphasised the importance of forming a partnership with Suryakumar Yadav, especially after Shubman Gill (74) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (71) had established a solid foundation and departed.
“After Shubman got out, it was a bit tricky with the set batter out. But managed to build a good partnership with Surya, need to put myself in such challenging situations.
“We kept talking about hitting good cricket shots, rotating the strike and this is something all our batters are working on. We didn’t want to get bogged down, we were always on par so we wanted to take it deep,” he said.
Man-of-the-match Mohammed Shami, who returned with brilliant 5 for 51, felt good after bowling his full quota of 10 overs on Friday in hot and humid conditions.
“It depends on the captain and the game situation, but despite the heat you feel like bowling 4-5 overs with the new ball,” Shami said of bowling longer spells in the sultry conditions.
“I enjoyed the wicket of Marsh, that’s a different feeling when you get the outside edge, when you control your swing nicely. It was important to hit the right lengths on this wicket, either at full pace or go slow, but bowling the right lengths were key,” he said.
Australia captain Pat Cummins said it was not an overall performance from his injury-ridden side but hoped the series would help them to build a good rhythm in the run-up to the ODI World Cup starting in India next month.
“Personally, happy to be back. Good to get my first game in India. A few guys batted well, few guys bowled well but overall not good enough.
“(On injuries) They’d probably not be ready for the second game, maybe the third game. Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) has just arrived in India. (Steve) Smith’s first hit as well, and Davey (David Warner) was brilliant,” he said.
“Good to see them out there together. We’ve got one eye on the big tournament, but you want to set the standards early and build a good rhythm,” he added.
(With PTI Inputs)