Never, under any circumstance, give Virat Kohli an extra life at the crease.
A fielding blunder from Steve Smith early in India’s run chase proved a pivotal moment during Tuesday evening’s T20 international at the SCG.
Part-time spin bowler Glenn Maxwell was granted a rare opportunity to open the bowling, and immediately snared a key breakthrough by removing opening batsman KL Rahul for a duck, caught on the boundary by Smith.
In uncharacteristic fashion, Kohli fell for the same trap in Maxwell’s next over, lofting a catch towards Smith at the mid-wicket boundary.
But the former Australian captain struggled to find the white ball amid the SCG’s light tower, and after shuffling around the boundary rope, dropped the regulation catch, gifting Kohli an extra life.
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The Sydney crowd roared in disbelief, as did the Fox Cricket commentary team.
“Of all the people to drop it,” Mark Howard cried.
Former England cricketer Isa Guha replied: “What is going on out there?”
Smith is human too, puts down a sitter of Kohli
Of all the people I can't believe Steve Smith has dropped that ?#AUSvIND
Wow. Smith dropped Kohli.. unbelievable!! When does Smith drop ANYONE?#AUSvIND
For almost a decade, Smith has been touted as one of the world’s most reliable fielders, but the powerhouse batsman only has himself to blame for the botched chance.
Ironically, he was practising outfield catches during the innings break in the exact spot he spilt the chance.
Kohli was on nine when the dropped catch took place, and the 32-year-old made sure to take advantage of the second opportunity.
The Indian skipper combined with opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan for a 74-run partnership, punishing Australia’s inexperienced bowling attack.
India’s Virat Kohli lofts over mid wicket.Source:News Corp Australia
An acrobatic catch from Daniel Sams was needed to separate the pair, Dhawan making his way back to the pavilion for 28.
Smith did his best to compensate for the early error – he saved four runs with a stellar piece of fielding in the 13th over, diving over the boundary rope and swatting a certain six back into play.
But Kohli continued on his merry way, plundering boundaries with ease in a T20 masterclass.
Unfortunately for the Indians, the rest of their middle order failed to capitalise on the blistering start, and they fell 12 runs short of the target.
And when Kohli was dismissed in the penultimate over for 85, an Australian victory was inevitable, and a flood of Indian fans headed for the gates.
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