India vs Australia 1st ODI: Australian skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith took Indian bowlers to the cleaners as both the batsmen struck confident yet contrasting hundreds on a flat track to lead hosts Australia to a commanding 374 for six against a listless India in the first One-day International in Sydney on Friday.
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On a sluggish pitch with occasional spongy bounce on offer, Finch shrugged off his poor IPL form to raise his 17th ODI century after electing to bat in the series-opener.
India vs Australia 1st ODI: Records galore
Delivering on his pre-match warning that he has “found his hands”, Smith hammered the Indian bowlers to raise his 10th ODI hundred, which was third fastest for an Australian as it came off 62 balls.
Finch’s 114-run innings, that came off 124 balls, had nine fours and two sixes while Smith took 66 balls for his 105-run knock, embellished with 11 fours and four sixes.
Interestingly, Finch has now scored four ODI centuries against India, which is the second-most by any Australian player in the men’s format. Ricky Ponting (6) is the only Australian with more hundreds against India.
Also, during his stay, Finch also became the second-fastest Australian player to smash 5000 runs in ODIs.
He reached 5000 runs in the 50 over format in 126th innings, and with this feat, he has surpassed former Australian cricketer late Dean Jones who had reached the mark in his 128th innings. David Warner (115th innings) is the fastest Australian batsman to register 5000 ODI while South African cricketer Hashim Amla (101st innings) is the fastest batsman ever to reach 5000 run mark in ODIs.
Meanwhile, ever-hungry David Warner (69) and ‘Big Show’ Glenn Maxwell (45 off 19 balls) also came to the party as Indian bowlers cut a sorry figure with little assistance from the pitch.
They grassed three catches along with numerous instances of sloppy fielding during the innings.
The same Indian fast bowlers, who looked lethal in the IPL, appeared jaded and without much sting on Friday as the Australian batsmen played them effortlessly.
Finch and Warner set the platform for the huge total with their 156-run opening stand. They handled the initial nagging overs by Mohammed Shami (3/59)and Jasprit Bumrah (1/73) cautiously before getting the measure of them.
Navdeep Saini (1/83 in 10 overs) struggled with his length for the better part.
They also handled the spin challenge with ease as both Yuzvendra Chahal (1/89) and Ravindra Jadeja (0/63) could hardly trouble the two openers.
Leg-spinner Chahal ended up leaking 89 runs from his 10-over quota with the home batsmen finding plenty of boundaries off him.
It was the worst-ever performance by an Indian spinner in the ODI format.
The breakthrough for Indians came as late as 28th over, when Shami had Warner caught behind on a referral.
Smith was saved by DRS after being given lbw off Jadeja and he never looked back.
Back in Australian jersey, Maxwell once again looked at ease while reverse sweeping Chahal for a six. Another shot worth remembering was deposition of Saini into the deep mid-wicket stands for a maximum.