New Delhi: Australia captain Steve Smith led from the front as Australia beat New Zealand by 68 runs in the first of three One-Day International matches at Sydney on Sunday.
The 27-year-old right-handed batsman first scores a blistering 164-run knock off 157 balls to help the hosts post a big total of 324/8 at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground.
In the process, he registered the joint-highest score for an Aussie captain in the ODIs. Ricky Ponting had also posted a similar score against South Africa at Johannesburg in 2006.
It was also his seventh ODI hundred in 74 innings.
Lower order batsman Travis Head took over from the skipper and posted a career best score of 52. He partnered with wicket-keeper batsman Mathew Wade, who himself posted a 22-ball 38, in punishing the Kiwi bowlers.
For New Zealand, Trent Boult was the most impressive bowler with two scalps, conceding 51 runs from his spell of 10 overs. Matt Henry and James Neesham also took two wickets each, while debutant Lockie Ferguson returned with one wicket.
Their cause was also hampered by some lacklustre fielding efforts.
Chasing a stiff target of 325 runs, New Zealand lost Tom Latham and Kane Williamson early – both falling to Josh Hazlewood. By the 22nd over, they were reduced to 126/3 as James Neesham also returned to the hut after a fighting 34.
Then, Smith took a brilliant one handed catch, earning himself a standing ovation from the sizeable SCG crowd. With JB Watling gone, Kiwis found themselves in dire straight.
All these while opener Martin Guptill continued his attacking game, and was batting sensibly until Adam Zampa forced him to play lofted shot, which found substitute fielder Glenn Maxwell at mid-wicket. Maxweel did well to complete the catch in his second attempt.
But hard-hitting batsman Colin Munro (49) and Henry (27) to everything to salvaged the chase but the innings folded up for 256 in 44.2 overs.
Smith utilised five bowlers and each one of them contributed by taking wickets. But the star was Hazlewood, who returned with figures of 10-0-49-3.
The second match will be played at Manuka Oval, Canberra on Tuesday.