Josh Hazlewood insists Virat Kohli dropped catch wasn’t decisive moment in India-Australia game

India went on to beat Australia by six wickets in their World Cup opener

Sakshi Gupta
Monday 09 October 2023 05:59 BST
Kohli celebrates his 50 in India’s World Cup opener against Australia
Kohli celebrates his 50 in India’s World Cup opener against Australia (AFP via Getty Images)

Australian bowler Josh Hazlewood does not believe Virat Kohli’s dropped catch cost Australia their World Cup opener against India, even though the star batter went on to score 85 as part of a match-winning partnership.

After Australia were bowled out for just 199 runs in 49.3 overs in the first innings in Chennai, they bounced back with a superb start with the ball, removing three Indian batsmen within the first two overs. In the eighth over of India’s chase, Australia had a golden opportunity to send Kohli back when he had scored just 12 runs. But Mitchell Marsh dropped a relatively straightforward catch.

Hazlewood, who dismissed India captain Rohit Sharma and two-down batter Shreyas Iyer for a duck, surprised Kohli with a short delivery when the hosts were 20 for 3 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. The trick almost worked for the Aussie bowler as Kohli top-edged it for what looked like an easy catch. However, the ball landed between Marsh, who ran in from mid-wicket, and wicket-keeper Alex Carrey.

Marsh, who was possibly distracted by Carrey also charging towards the ball, let it slip to the ground. Kohli made full use of the second chance as he went on to add 165 runs for the fourth wicket alongside eventual Man of the Match KL Rahul, as India beat Australia by six wickets.

Speaking at the post-match conference on Sunday, Hazlewood suggested Marsh dropping Kohli’s catch was not a decisive moment since it happened “quite early” in the game.

“No, I don’t think so, it was quite early obviously when that catch was dropped but we still felt that new ball was doing enough, whether it was in the air or off the wicket. We knew that spin was going to be tough to play, maybe not as tough as during the day, but still enough to play it.

“And we certainly felt in the game for quite a while until obviously the partnership grew and grew and they sort of batted us out of it obviously. And yeah, I thought we did a reasonable job early in particular trying to defend 200,” Hazlewood told reporters.

On being asked if he thought ‘keeper Carrey was in a better position for the Kohli catch, Hazlewood disagreed.

“No, I didn’t think Carey could get there. I think it was Mitch’s catch and probably just Carey got quite close in the end so it might have just put Mitch off. Yeah, he dropped a catch, it’s one of those things that happens and everyone’s training hard and working hard off the field to hang on to them. So, yeah, we’ll continue on,” the pacer added.

Marsh, meanwhile, had an off day with the bat as well. The Western Australian batter got out for a six-ball duck after Australia opted to bat on Sunday. After the early setback, the visiting side brought their innings back on track, thanks to knocks from David Warner and Steve Smith. Both the batsmen got good starts but failed to convert it into something big and got out for 41 and 46 runs, respectively.

When Marnus Labuschagne, who came out to bat at No 4, was also sent back, Australia suffered a collapse from there as they failed to touch the 200-run mark. It ended up being a collective effort from the Indian bowling department, with both pacers and spinners chipping in with wickets.

Australia’s next game in the World Cup 2023 is on Thursday 13 October against South Africa in Lucknow, while India next travel to Delhi to face off against Afghanistan on Wednesday 11 October.

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