Australia beat India by 66 runs in 1st ODI...

Dhaka, Wednesday   20 January 2021

Australia beat India by 66 runs in 1st ODI

 Sports Desk

 Published: 08:31 PM, 27 November 2020  

Australia beat India by 66 runs in 1st ODI

Australia beat India by 66 runs in 1st ODI

Hardik Pandya's 90 off 76 balls and Shikhar Dhawan's 74 off 86 weren't enough to help India chase down a colossal 375 as Australia beat them by 66 runs in the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Friday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and get 10 points in the ICC ODI Super League. 

Aaron Finch (114) and Steve Smith (105) hit centuries - Smith's the third fastest ever by an Australian in ODIs - and were helped along by Glenn Maxwell's 45 off 19 and David Warner's 69 off 76 on a flat SCG wicket where all Indian bowlers struggled to contain the runs. India were restricted to 308 for 8 in 50 overs.

Coming in to bat when India were in a spot of bother at 101 for 4 in the 14th over, Pandya stitched together a crucial partnership of 128 runs with Dhawan to keep India in the chase. 

Pandya brought up his fifty off just 31 balls in the 24th over of the Indian inning. 

Pandya took special liking to the spinners, Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell, who were hit for sixes, mostly in the 'V' between long-off and long-on, as India remained on course for their highest successful chase in ODIs. 

Chasing Australia's 374 for 6, India got off to a good start with openers Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal (22 off 18) adding 53 inside the first six overs before Josh Hazlewood got Agarwal dismissed off a short ball. 

An uncharacteristic Virat Kohli played a lot of shots in his short stay of 21 off 21 balls, which had two fours and a six, before Hazlewood got him to hit another short ball to Finch at short mid-wicket. 

Kohli was given a lifeline when Zampa dropped him at fine leg, but the Indian captain couldn't make the most of it. 

When Shreyas Iyer - caught by wicket-keeper Alex Carey as Iyer tried to duck under a bumper by Hazlewood with his bat pointing upwards - and KL Rahul, caught by Smith off Zampa, were dismissed inside the first 15 overs, India faced a humongous task. 

However, Pandya and Dhawan dug in and batted through the middle overs to give India a solid base to launch from in the death overs. 

But Zampa had other plans as after dismissing Dhawan in the 35th over, caught by Mitchell Starc in the deep, he got the better of Pandya, who also holed out to Starc at long-on, bringing an end to his innings studded with seven fours and four sixes in the 39th over. 

Zampa returned 4 for 54 off 10 while Hazlewood got 3 for 55 off his 10. 

Earlier, Finch won the toss and opted to bat.. Australia's victory was set up by Finch's 17th ODI hundred and Australia's third fastest century in the format from Smith, who played an uncharacteristically aggressive hand, and with typical supporting acts from David Warner upfront and Glenn Maxwell at the backend. Finch put on two-century partnerships, adding 156 for the opening stand with Warner, who made a 76-ball 69 himself and then another 108 with Smith. His departure paved the way for a vintage Maxwell cameo before Smith went on to notch up a 62-ball hundred as Australia gathered 110 runs in the final ten overs, more than making up for their slow start.

With the wicket doing very little to assist the bowlers - any kind - all Finch and Warner had to do was not waste their start. India's new-ball pair of Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah were miserly at the start, but Finch got Australia going with a boundary off the latter in the fourth over and went on to raise 5000 ODI runs in the following. Bumrah's wicketless first spell meant he's bowled 26 overs in the Power Play this year without grabbing a wicket. The story wasn't any different for India on the whole either, with the Australian openers adding 51 in the first-10, subjecting them to their fourth consecutive wicket-less powerplay of 2020.

The acceleration began in the middle overs, with the onset of spin, and Yuzvendra Chahal bore the brunt of it, with both Finch and Warner picking him with ease to squeeze in some big overs. It also helped that India's fielding was sloppy, and bowling sluggish. Finch raised the 150-run stand in the middle of the 28th over, just before losing Warner on 69. It was Shami who got India the desperate breakthrough, on review, inducing a faint edge off the opener's bat with a yorker length delivery.

However, that brought India little respite as Smith wasted no time to get going, toying with the field to fetch runs at will. And once the fifty was up, the former captain effortlessly switched gears. Even two quick wickets - that of Finch on 114, and Marcus Stoinis for a duck - failed to deter him or the incoming batsman, Maxwell. The duo seemed to have shed all inhibitions, as well as their patchy form from three weeks ago in the IPL.

Maxwell brought out the sweeps almost as soon as he took guard. Kohli brought Chahal back on, given the wrist spinner has had the wood over the Australian allrounder in ODIs with four dismissals to his credit. However, Maxwell followed a switch hit with a reverse sweep for six to fetch 10 off the first two deliveries he faced from the spinner. He capped off the 21-run over with another six, this one ferried over the fence by Pandya, who failed to pouch the catch back-pedalling at long-off.

Similar treatment was meted out to Navdeep Saini, who bowled the 44th over for 15 where Maxwell scooped a length ball over deep midwicket for six, and followed it up with back to back boundaries at the end. Shami put an end to his blitzkrieg, but his game-changing 19-ball 45, in a brisk 57-run stand with Smith, gave Australia the momentum in death overs. After hitting pause for a brief period when Maxwell did all the talking, Smith resumed the carnage enroute the record century. 

Shami's 3 for 59 was the only solace for India on a day the bowling was carted all over as Australia racked up the third highest total ever against them.