Finch, Smith guide Aus to 66-run win over India in 1st ODI

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch (114 off 124) and former skipper Steve Smith’s (105 off 66) centuries guided the hosts to a convincing 66-run win over Virat Kohli’s men in the 1st ODI played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Batting first, Australia posted their highest ODI total against India – 374/6 – which proved to bee too much to handle for the Men in Blue.

Finch and Smith, who did not have a memorable outing in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, rediscovered their forms at the international level. After opting to bat first, Finch and David Warner (69 off 76) got the hosts off to a flier as the duo added 156 runs for the opening wicket to put Australia in driver’s seat.

Mohammed Shami got India a much-needed breakthrough when he dismissed Warner in the 28th over of the innings. Smith was on the money right from the word go as he took Indian bowlers to the cleaners. Smith and Finch added 115 runs for the second wicket before the latter was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah.

Smith continued to attack the Indian bowlers and was well supported by Glenn Maxwell, who played an entertaining cameo (45 off 19). Smith completed his century in the penultimate over of Australia’s innings, off 62 balls, which was the third-fastest ODI ton by an Australian batsman.

Indian bowlers had a forgettable outing as Yuzvendra Chahal conceded 89 runs in 10 overs and bagged just one wicket. Navdeep Saini (83/1) and Jasprit Bumrah (73/1) were two pacers who leaked plenty of runs while Shami bowled a decent spell (59/3).

In reply, India got off to a flier as Mitchell Starc conceded 20 runs in the first over. Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan looked in control of the proceedings as they added 53 runs in 5.3 overs before Mayank was dismissed by Josh Hazlewood. Hazlewood continued to test the Indian batsman with bouncers as he went on to dismiss Virat Kohli (21 off 21) and Shreyas Iyer (2). Kohli was earlier dropped by Adam Zampa but it did not prove to be costly.

India looked out of contest with the scoreboard reading 101/4 after KL Rahul (12 off 15) was dismissed by Adam Zampa. Dhawan was then joined by Hardik Pandya and the pair brought India back in the game by adding 128 runs for the fifth wicket. Zampa went on to remove Dhawan (74 off 86) and Pandya (90 off 76) in quick succession to bring Australia back in the game. While it was Hazlewood who dismantled the top-order, it was Zampa who also found some form with a good four-wicket haul.

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N Krishnamurthy