Contrasting Centuries: Gaikwad and Maxwell shine in Aus vs Ind, 2023-24

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It’s possible you are on a break from cricket after watching the ODI World Cup for the last month and a half and gave Tuesday night’s T20I a miss. But if you just had a glance at the final scorecard, perhaps to avoid the FOMO or sound intelligent in the office tomorrow, don’t get fooled into thinking Ruturaj Gaikwad and Glenn Maxwell played similar knocks. They both scored hundreds at a strike rate of around 215, but there were more differences than similarities in the way they reached there. When Gaikwad started his innings in the evening, the Guwahati pitch was helping fast bowlers. “I felt it was slightly tacky initially,” he said later. “The ball was stopping a little bit and there was some movement in the air and off the pitch as well.” With India having lost Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ishan Kishan within the first three overs, Gaikwad decided to hold one end for some time while Suryakumar Yadav did the bulk of the scoring. The pair stabilised the innings by adding 57 off 47 balls. By now, the dew had also settled in, making the batting much easier. Gaikwad was on a run-a-ball 22. But when Suryakumar got out, he pressed the accelerator and scored 28 in the next ten deliveries to bring up his fifty. But Maxwell has been making seemingly impossible tasks possible of late, and he did the same on Tuesday. While Gaikwad didn’t know what would be a safe total, Maxwell had the advantage of knowing the target. With 86 required from six overs, Maxwell went into overdrive. He reached his half-century with a reverse-lapped six off Arshdeep Singh and brought out the airplane celebration, mimicking the bowler’s celebration after Aaron Hardie’s wicket earlier in the innings. After that, it was Maxwell’s slightly open stance, a strong bottom hand, a snap of the wrists, and the ball going to and over the boundary line with increasing frequency. Wade took apart Axar in the 19th, bringing it down to 21 needed from six balls, but Prasidh once again had the ball. However, this time he looked helpless against a wet ball and a rampant Maxwell. Maxwell went 6, 4, 4 and 4 to seal the game and keep Australia alive in the series.

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