Sydney, Nov 29 (IANS) India, missing an extra bowler who could play back up to the regular bowlers leaking runs, were forced to turn to a semi-fit Hardik Pandya during Sunday’s second ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“It (the decision to bowl him) came out of nowhere, I asked him how are he was feeling, he said he was okay to bowl a couple of overs. He got into it and felt a bit better, then he said he will bowl two more overs,” said India captain Virat Kohli after the match.
“He gave away the bowling plan,” Kohli said jokingly as Pandya bowled a decent spell using change in pace.
Pandya, who had said after Friday’s first ODI that he is not yet fit to bowl in a match, was pressed into attack in the 36th over after India were finding the going tough with Australia racing to 230 for two in 35 overs. He bowled four overs in spells of two overs each and gave away 24 runs besides picking the wicket of Steve Smith.
He impressed with the ball, varying his pace, slowing it down and picking up the wicket of centurion Smith, who scored a 64-ball 104 to follow his 66-ball 105 in the first ODI.
Pandya, 27, was filling up the overs of pace bowler Navdeep Saini who had proved very expensive, going for 55 runs in his six overs up until then.
The all-rounder conceded just five in his first over as he bowled slower bouncers that were hard to time for the batsmen. He then conceded just four in the next over, ensuring that there was some check to the proceedings.
Pandya was taken off after the 38th over, having bowled just two overs, but Kohli was forced to bring him back after India conceded 38 in the next three overs.
Pandya responded with the wicket of Smith and ended with one for 24 in four overs.
Despite Pandya’s efforts, India conceded 389 in 50 overs, the highest ODI total for Australia against India, bettering the 374 they scored in the first ODI.