First ODI: Australia thrash India by 66 runs

Sydney: An all-round performance from Australia saw them register a 66-run win over India in the opening ODI of the three-match series at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

If skipper Aaron Finch (114) and Steve Smith (105) stole the show with the bat, it was leg-spinner Adam Zampa who joined Josh Hazlewood with the ball to derail the Indian batting line-up. While Zampa finished with figures of 4/54 from his 10, Hazlewood picked three from his 10 overs and gave away 55 runs.

Chasing a monumental target of 375, the visitors were never really in the game except for a brief stage when opener Shikhar Dhawan (74) and Hardik Pandya (90) put on 128 runs for the fifth wicket. But the top half of the innings had already left a lot to be desired even though openers Mayank Agarwal and Dhawan did get off to a flier and added 53 in the first five overs. Speedster Hazlewood started the damage by removing Agarwal (22) in the sixth over.

Skipper Virat Kohli joined Dhawan in the middle and added 25 runs for the second wicket. But looking to up the ante with an eye on the required rate, Kohli too became a victim of Hazlewood after hitting a run-a-ball 21.

In the same over, Hazlewood struck again and sent Shreyas Iyer (2) back to the pavilion. KL Rahul and Dhawan then built a 21-run stand for the fourth wicket. Meanwhile, India crossed the 100-run mark in the 13th over. Just after crossing the 100-run mark, Adam Zampa bagged Rahul (12) as Smith grabbed the catch.

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Pandya and Dhawan did look to counter and keep wickets in the bag, but the ever-increasing asking rate saw them both perish as they looked to take on Zampa. With Pandya dismissed in the 39th over, it was all about completing the formalities for the hosts. In the end, India was restricted to 308/8 in their 50 overs.

Earlier, Smith and Finch’s tons guided the hosts to a mammoth 374/6 in their 50 overs. Having opted to bat after winning the toss, Australia got off to a brilliant start with openers David Warner and Finch scoring regular boundaries.

The duo kept the scoreboard running and touched the 100-run mark in the 19th over. Mohammed Shami handed India the first breakthrough as he dismissed Warner (69), ending their 156-run partnership. But the joy was shortlived as Smith came out to bat.

Smith and Finch proved too good for the Indian bowlers and took Australia past the 200-run mark in the 34th over. Smith started playing aggressively and completed his half-century off just 36 deliveries.

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Finch kept plugging the gaps and went on to score his 17th ODI century, putting the hosts in a dominating position. Their 108-run stand was brought to an end in the 40th over by Jasprit Bumrah, who sent Aaron Finch (114) back to the pavilion.

Marcus Stoinis was the next batsman but failed to leave a mark as he was caught behind off Yuzvendra Chahal as the hosts were reduced to 271/3.

Stoinis’ dismissal brought Glenn Maxwell to the wicket. Maxwell looked intent on starting in overdrive mode, taking the team past the 300-run mark in the 43rd over with Smith for company.

Maxwell played a 45-run cameo before Shami ended his 19-ball stay at the crease in the 45th over. Maxwell was caught by Ravindra Jadeja at long-on. Holding his own, Smith completed his century off 62 balls in the 49th over.

However, in the next over, Shami sent Smith (105) back to the hut. Alex Carey and Pat Cummins scored six runs in the final over as Australia finished on 374.

Brief Scores: Australia 374/6 (Aaron Finch 114, Steve Smith 105, Mohammed Shami 3/59); India 308/8 (Hardik Pandya 90, Shikhar Dhawan 74, Josh Hazlewood 3/55, Adam Zampa 4/54) by 66 runs.

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