Yuzvendra Chahal, the concussion substitute for Ravindra Jadeja, picked three in his four overs as India thumped Australia by 11 runs in the first T20I on Friday. Chasing a 161-run total at the Manuka Oval, the hosts were mauled by impressive bowling show of Chahal and Natarajan. Both picked three wickets each to restrict Aussies to 151 in their 20 overs as India went 1-0 up in the three-game series.
After being put to bat first, India were bolstered by KL Rahul's resilient half-century. However, it was Jadeja's onslaught which guided the hosts to 161. Continuing his stellar form with the bat, the left-hander hammered an unbeaten 23-ball 44 to put his side in the driver's seat.
Australia, in response, got off to a solid start as skipper Aaron Finch and D'Arcy Short stitched half-century opening stand. But Chahal, an unexpected change in the squad, dismissed Finch and Smith in his first two overs. The leg-spinner also dismissed Matthew Wade to register figures of 3/25 in his fours overs. After bagging Man of the Match award at Canberra, Chahal said, "I got to know that I will play just 10-15 minutes before the start of the innings."
Chahal's inclusion in the squad raised did raise a few eyebrows. While a set of fans backed India's tactical move, few questioned if Chahal was a 'like-for-like' replacement of Jadeja. The Indian team's decision to bring in Chahal for Jadeja also irked Australia head coach Justin Langer, who was spotted arguing with the match referee, David Boon, before the start of the second innings.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan, irked by India's tactics, questioned over the absence of a doctor or physio when Jadeja endured the blow. "No Doctor or Physio came out to Test Jadeja for concussion ... he then looks like his has done something to his leg ... then they pull the concussion replacement .. !!!!! #RatSniffed #OnOn #AUSvIND," tweeted Vaughan.
Jadeja could not play as a bowler in the second innings after a short ball by Mitchell Starc hit his helmet during his knock. He, however, was assessed only after he got back to the dressing room.
Amid the heated concussion debate, Vaughan admitted that India were better than the hosts on Friday. "Concussion debate yes but let’s be honest #India we’re just much better than #Australia today ... #OnOn #AUSvIND," he wrote.