India's bowling at the ICC World Twenty20 was remarkable for its accuracy and consistency. Sadly, India failed to replicate those attributes during the opening game of the Future Cup against Australia in Bangalore, their first match since becoming world champions in international cricket's shortest format.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, in his first game as ODI captain, didn't hide from that, or from India's inability to finish off matches. "We have a problem, just a bit of a problem, when the ball doesn't do too much," Dhoni said. "The white Kookaburra [ball] doesn't do anything after 15-odd overs and we need to work hard on that."
Dhoni felt the problem was not with the bowlers but with Indian conditions. "Most of the Indian wickets are batsman-friendly and our bowlers have done well whenever the wickets have anything in them, whether in English conditions or in South Africa."
India, Dhoni felt, lost the momentum between overs 32 and 42. "That ten-over spell was not good for us," he said. "If we could have got one wicket it would have benefited us".
Recent examples show India's tendency to let opponents off the hook. At the DLF Cup in Kuala Lumpur a year ago, Australia were on the ropes at 97 for 5 but went on to make 213 and win the match by 18 runs. More recently at The Oval, India allowed Owais Shah and Luke Wright to post 316 and even though India hit back with a two-wicket victory, they knew there was work to be done. And the game today once again supported that fact.
Two of the matchwinners in England, Zaheer Khan and RP Singh, lacked consistency today and were easy pickings for Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin. Both walked out nonchalantly to dispatch the fast bowlers over the off side. Zaheer's rusty display might be explained by his suffering a heel injury on the England trip but RP Singh had no excuses for bowling either too full or too wide. Dhoni, though, was not harsh on his bowlers saying, "there are days when the odd bowler goes for runs."
Dhoni felt the Chinnaswamy pitch was one of grassiest in the country, but failed to live up to the expectations as the ball lost its shine. "It was a good spell from our new-ball pair. It seemed like a wicket which would do a lot but it was not doing as much later."
He had better news about Sourav Ganguly, who had to leave the field as he suffered a hamstring injury in his right leg. "He is fine and will have an MRI scan tomorrow."