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Though the margin of defeat – 76 runs – was a big one, the Irish performance was not altogether disappointing. After Rohit Sharma (97) and Shikhar Dhawan (74) blazed away at the start to put up 160 for the first wicket in 16 overs, the Irish bowlers did claw back.
Peter Chase was especially good, picking up the wickets of MS Dhoni, Sharma and Virat Kohli in the final over on his way to returns of 4/35. Boyd Rankin and Paul Stirling kept things moderately tight too. Among the batsmen, James Shannon, only a handful of international matches old, did well against a strong bowling attack to score a 35-ball 60 with five fours and four sixes.
On the whole, though, Ireland fell well short on all counts, and Kuldeep Yadav, the Player of the Match for his 4/21, put it down to their inexperience against quality spin.
“They played the fast bowlers well, but struggled against the spinners, because they were not using their feet properly. We [Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal] varied the pace. Maybe they are not used to it,” said Yadav.
The pitch did assist spinners more than most people expected, catching even Gary Wilson, the Ireland captain, by surprise. “I did not expect it to spin like it did in the second innings,” he said after the game. “Possibly, I could have bowled the spinners more. In hindsight, that's always the thing, isn't it?”
The Indian spinners got into the game after a typically belligerent effort by the Indian batsmen. With that many runs on the board, it was always going to be catch-up for the Irish batsmen, making it easier for Yadav and Chahal [3/38] to cash in.
“We put up good runs with the bat. So it became easier for me, because we had a lot of runs to defend,” agreed Yadav. “Spinners always prefer that, because it gives us a chance to attack. Personally too, it was great, because the ball came out the way I wanted to. I pitched it where I wanted and I could use my variations as well. So it was a good start.”
India can’t lose the series, so the Indian team management has decided to field the players – Dinesh Karthik, KL Rahul, Washington Sundar, Siddarth Kaul and Umesh Yadav – who missed the first outing.
“We're going to give everyone a go in this series. The management and me as captain decided it. There're no mysteries and we’re looking everyone to give game time,” said Kohli at the end of the Wednesday fixture.
For Ireland, that provides an excellent opportunity to notch up a win against a top team, something they have done in one-day international cricket often enough.
Ireland: Gary Wilson (c), Andy Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Andy McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson
India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Siddarth Kaul, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav
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First Published: June 29, 2018, 11:24 AM IST