India’s tour of Australia got underway today with the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the hosts drew first blood with a clinical 66-run win over the visitors. Australia were right on top from the very beginning and barring a period in the second innings where India’s Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya were threatening to put together a match-winning partnership.
The much-awaited match which marked India’s return to international cricket for the first time in nearly 8 months began with a poignant tribute first of all to the Aborigines of Australia and then the late Dean Jones and Phillip Hughes. Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Aaron Finch and David Warner strode out to the middle.
Australian batsmen make merry
Australia got off to an excellent start courtesy their openers as India struggled to find a breakthrough. The opening partnership crossed 150 marking the fourth time that the Warner-Finch duo have crossed the figure against the Indians. Mohammad Shami provided the breakthrough as he had Warner nick one to the keeper on 69. But Finch, along with Steve Smith kept going and the two upped the ante.
The Australian skipper reached his 17th ODI century but got out off Jasprit Bumrah’s delivery. But new batsman Glenn Maxwell came out all guns blazing unlike his performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and exploded his way to a quick-fire 45. Smith at the other end also found the boundaries at will in a masterclass of hitting. Smith reached a century as well and got out on 105. Australia’s score read a mammoth 374. The Indian bowlers with the exception of Shami who picked up 3 wickets for 59 runs, were expensive and off-color.
Pandya’s terrific effort goes in vain
In the chase, India got off to a terrific start as Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan took the score to 50 in just 5 overs. However, Agarwal holed out to Glenn Maxwell and then wickets fell in a heap. Skipper Virat Kohli looked fluent in his stay before losing his wicket to Josh Hazlewood. The paceman had already removed Agarwal and he continued his excellent start with a delivery that bamboozled Shreyas Iyer and made him lose his wicket cheaply. KL Rahul didn’t last long either as he hit an Adam Zampa full-toss straight to the cover fielder.
Hardik Pandya walked in and joined hands with Dhawan. The former put on a show of hitting as he toyed with the Australian bowlers who at a point looked clueless. Dhawan played excellent foil to the all-rounder’s hitting. But Zampa came back for another spell and removed the duo as they tried to accelerate when the required rate was climbing. Dhawan got out on 74 while Pandya fell just 10 short of a maiden ODI century on 90.
With all hopes extinguished, Ravindra Jadeja tried to play out the remaining overs out with the tail for company but he fell to Zampa as well, as the leggie returned four wickets. Australia in the end, sealed a victory by 66 runs to go 1-0 up in the series.
The second ODI will take place on the 29th of November at the same venue. Australia will be ready to go for the kill and the Indians will want to make a statement by bouncing back.