Ravindra Jadeja pinpoints a watershed moment in India’s victory over Australia.

Ravindra Jadeja pinpoints a watershed moment in India’s victory over Australia.

With a mesmerizing spell that helped limit Australia to a modest total, the spinner was instrumental in India winning their opening match of the Cricket World Cup.

Australia had made a strong start to their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign, with David Warner and Steve Smith laying the groundwork for a competitive total against India, until Ravindra Jadeja took three crucial wickets.

Jadeja ripped through Australia’s middle order, taking the visitors from 110/2 to 119/5 in the space of 16 balls, handing India control of the match on a spin-friendly deck.

In the next over, the left-arm spinner bowled Steve Smith with an unplayable delivery that almost turned square to beat the defense, then quickly followed it up with the scalps of Marnus Labuschagne and Alex Carey.

The Australia No.3 was looking at ease, especially given that all seven of his ODIs in 2023 have been played in India, and was posing a significant threat to the hosts while compiling a classy 46 until Jadeja struck.

“I believe that was the tipping point. When you get a wicket like Steve Smith, it’s not easy to just come in and rotate the strike for the next batter,” Jadeja explained.

“That wicket, I believe, was the tipping point.” They were 110/3 and 199 all out after that.”

Jadeja’s spell against Smith was marked by faster deliveries with less turn, until the wicket-taking delivery, which was slower and turned more than five degrees to beat the batter’s defensive push.

“This was my plan, that I should bowl at the stumps and luckily the ball to Smith turned a little more,” Jadeja told the media.

“My strategy was straightforward. Because this was a Test match bowling wicket, I was thinking that I shouldn’t experiment too much because everything was happening in the wicket. So I was bowling it stump to stump.”

The star spinner’s 10 overs only allowed 28 runs for three wickets, which was critical to India’s winning start to the tournament on home soil.

However, Jadeja revealed that the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai was not as beneficial to spinners as he had hoped.

“When I started the first over, the ball was stopping after a slow fall.” “I thought it was afternoon because it was hot and the wicket was dry,” Jadeja explained.

“I thought a stump-line would be more appropriate.” Some balls will turn and some will go straight from here, making it difficult for the batsman to line up.”

India, led by Jadeja, bowled Australia out for 199 on a wicket that eventually proved to be spin-friendly.

However, India was on the ropes at 2/3 in the run chase until Virat Kohli and KL Rahul combined for a 165-run fourth-wicket stand.

While the partnership effectively sealed India’s victory, Jadeja and the other India bowlers had laid the groundwork in the first innings.

India will play Afghanistan in their next World Cup match in Delhi on Wednesday, before facing Pakistan in Ahmedabad on October 14. Meanwhile, Australia will face South Africa on Thursday in Lucknow.


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