Australian players celebrate defeating India | Photo: Twitter|@ICC
Sydney: Australia defeated India by 66 runs in the first One-day International at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.
Though there was a rearguard action from Hardik Pandya, who got his highest ODI score (90 off 76 balls) and added 128 runs for the fifth wicket with opener Shikhar Dhawan (74 off 86), Australia's total of 374 for six wickets in 50 overs, their highest against India in one-dayers, proved too daunting. India finished at 308 for eight wickets in 50 overs.
India lost their first three wickets inside the first 10 overs to lose momentum. Both Agarwal and fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan had given India a turbo-charged start with a 53-run opening stand in just over five overs. But then Hazlewood struck with three short-pitched deliveries to dent India's march, picking Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, and Shreyas Iyer.
Earlier, skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith scored centuries to lead Aussie charge, after Australia won the toss.
Finch made 114 from 124 deliveries with the help of nine 4s and two 6s while Smith scored 105 off just 66 balls -- with 11x4s and four 6s -- as the hosts took heavy toll on hapless Indian bowlers who had no option to fall back on.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the most severely hit, going for 89 in his 10-over spell. He could pick just one wicket. Chahal's are the most number of runs conceded by an Indian spinner on ODIs, going worse than 85 that another leg-spinner, Piyush Chawla, conceded in his 10 overs against Pakistan in 2008.
Electing to bat, the hosts started steadily with both Finch and David Warner taking their time to adjust to the pitch. However, once they got settled, there was no looking back as the pair shared a 156-run opening wicket partnership in 27.5 overs.
During the course of the partnership, Finch became the second-fastest Australian to score 5,000 ODI runs (126 innings, 11 more than Warner).
India got their first breakthrough as Warner got out against Mohammed Shami after playing a well-rounded 69-run knock, with the help of six 4s.
Smith, who came in next, started right from the word go and scored runs quickly, adding 108 runs with Finch.
Finch, the Australia skipper, was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah after he got to his 17th ODI hundred.
Glenn Maxwell, who had failed miserably in the IPL, came good and smashed the Indian bowlers. Maxwell used switch-hit and reverse sweep to good effect as he scored 45 runs off just 18 balls (five 4s, three 6s) before getting caught at the long-on boundary off the bowling of Shami.
With Marnus Labuschagne getting dismissed soon after, former Australia captain Steve Smith ensured that he kept his team on course for a big total. He stuck to one end, kept scoring boundaries at will and brought up his 10th hundred in just 62 balls -- the third fastest by an Australian in ODIs. The former Australia skipper was bowled in the final over of the innings, but not before inflicting huge damage to the Indians.
Among India bowlers, only Mohammed Shami could go for under six runs an over.
In reply, India got off to a horrible start losing three wickets, Agarwal, Kohli, and Iyer, in the first 10 overs. They then lost KL Rahul in the 14th over. However, Pandya and Dhawan kept the hopes alive. Pandya scored very quickly and was particularly severe on the spinners.
However, the pressure got to them. Dhawan fell to a dismissal, giving a catch off Adam Zampa to short mid-off and a few overs later Pandya too fell to Zampa, holing out to long on. At the time of Pandya's dismissal, India still needed 128 in 11 overs and they had no batsman, other than Jadeja (25 off 37) to take them. Eventually, they fell short by 67 runs.
Brief Scores: Australia: 374/6 wkts in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 114, Steve Smith 105; Mohammed Shami 59/3) beat India: 308/8 wkts in 50 overs (H Pandya 90, S Dhawan 74, A Zampa 4/54, J Hazlewood 3/47) by 66 runs.