Mohali, Sep 23


ith India needing 92 runs from 105 balls to win the first ODI against Australia, Suryakumar Yadav walked in to join captain KL Rahul at the crease. Suryakumar had been under pressure, recording three consecutive ducks against the same opposition earlier this year and yet to nail the format.

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What followed at PCA Stadium would have greatly pleased the team management. Suryakumar showed restraint in shot-selection and calmness in the situation, making a 49-ball 50, a much-needed third half-century in the format to ease questions on his 50-over adaptability.

"I have been wondering what has been happening. The colour of the ball is the same. The teams are the same. The bowlers are the same. I think I was hurrying a bit. I thought, let's take a little bit more time. Calm myself, take it slowly and try and bat deep," he said after the match ended.

Suryakumar shed his propensity to pre-mediate and hardly swept any deliveries. Right from the ramp, glance to the fine and textbook straight drives, fans were witnessing a very different and calmer version of Suryakumar, before falling to Sean Abbott.

"That was what I was dreaming of when I started playing this format. Try and bat till the end as much as possible and finish the game for the team. I couldn't do that but definitely loving my new role," he added.

In a match where four Indian batters slammed half-centuries, including openers Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rahul stepped up under pressure yet again, scoring a 63-ball 58, with four boundaries and a match-winning lofted six to seal a clinical win with eight balls to spare.

"I went in a tricky situation after keeping for 50 overs, it was tough for the middle order batters starting, but had a good partnership with Surya. We kept talking about hitting good cricket shots," he said.

Rahul also praised his side's fitness levels despite the extreme heat and humidity. "It was as hot as Colombo and really humid. I think the commitment that the boys showed. We were put under pressure in the middle. We started really well with the ball. But the middle overs were tough. We've been talking about staying committed for 50 overs and we've all been working really hard on our fitness so that's showing."

Australia skipper Pat Cummins was happy in getting back to playing international cricket, but rued his team's inability to get over the line. "Personally I'm happy I'm back. First game for a little while. Good to get our first game here in India. Disappointing we didn't get over the line. I thought a few guys batted well and a few guys bowled well."

I was hurrying a bit, thought let's take a little bit more time: Suryakumar Yadav on 49-ball fifty

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