India returned back to International cricket against Australia at Sydney after a 290-day wait. The hosts banked on the Indian bowling unit’s woes and thus were on the top of their game with the bat. Virat Kohli and co were unable to break free from Josh Hazlewood’s short ball web and slumped to a 66-run defeat.
Aaron Finch had no hesitation to bat first under the sun at the SCG after winning the toss. The captain alongside fellow opener David Warner exploited the lack of movement on the pitch and also the Indian bowlers’ inconsistency. Mohammad Shami ran-in for an impressive tight first spell, but Jasprit Bumrah was erratic in his line and length and was far from his best.
The introduction of spin brought no avail for the Men In Blue as the opening partnership kept on growing. Both Finch and Warner soon brought up their fifties, highlighting the off day the Indian bowling unit were enduring.
Warner perished on 69 to give India their first and much-needed breakthrough. The 156-run stand was built across 28 overs, providing Australia with a solid platform to build on.
Steve Smith survived a close LBW call courtesy of DRS and continued his scoring spree against India to etch another chapter, he unleashed his extensive strokeplay against the toothless bowling unit. Aaron Finch began the summer with an impressive ton but lost his wicket to Bumrah, to hand the pacer only his second wicket in 7 ODI matches.
Smith recorded Australia’s third-fastest ODI hundred and stayed until the final over. Glenn Maxwell, who endured a horrid IPL campaign, chipped in with a valuable 19-ball 45 run cameo to lift the hosts to an imperious total of 374-5.
Mohammad Shami was the pick of the pacer with 3 wickets and also the sole bowler with an economy below 6. Yuzvendra Chahal, on the other hand, conceded 89 runs off his allotted 10 overs.
The new-look opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal got India off to a flying start in their pursuit of the 375 run target. After dispatching Starc to 20 runs in the very first over of the innings, the pair proceeded to bring up the 50 run mark in just 4 overs.
Mayank Agarwal went for one shot too many and was caught by Maxwell just outside the 30-yard circle. Virat Kohli got a lifeline after almost getting out to a shot reminiscent to his infamous 2015 World Cup semi-final dismissal. Adam Zampa misjudged it completely to hand the Indian skipper a huge relief.
Despite looking in good touch, Hazlewood snapped up the wicket of Kohli for 21. India’s downward spiral continued as Shreyas Iyer only had a 2-ball stay at the crease before returning back to the pavilion. Australia did not have to wait long for their next prey with KL Rahul falling to a harmless Adam Zampa full toss and sending India to 101-4 in the 14th over.
Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan kept the Indian hopes alive with a 118-run partnership for the fifth wicket. However, the quick dismissal of the pair extinguished their hopes of a record chase. Hardik Pandya top scored with 90 while Dhawan stitched a 74-run knock.
The lower order managed to hang on until the end to cross the 300-run mark but ultimately fell to a heavy defeat to trail 1-0 in the three match ODI series.