Despite the obvious disadvantage of being the lesser experienced of the two sides, Australians in the first ODI on Sunday proved that India can ill-afford to take them lightly in the seven-match series.
After winning the toss skipper George Bailey chose to bat first and Australian openers proved his decision correct by adding 110 runs for the first-wicket in just 18.2 overs. Philip Hughes scored 47 runs and swashbuckling opener Aaron Finch played a 72-run-knock punctuated with eight fours and three sixes.
Bailey held the middle order together and played a captain’s knock scoring 85 runs off 82 balls, laced with ten boundaries. Cameos by Glenn Maxwell (31) and James Faulkner (27) ensured that the visiting team crossed the psychological barrier of 300 runs. Australian batsmen together put up a total of 304 runs on the board for India to chase.
When Australian bowlers came in to defend the total of 300-plus runs, Faulkner provided his team just the breakthrough that they needed in the form of the in-form Indian opener— Shikhar Dhawan. Later on, in the fag end of the Indian innings, he picked two other crucial wickets of Suresh Raina and Ravinder Jadeja to break the backbone of Indian middle order.
After failing to shine with the willow, Shane Watson compensated with the ball and gave his team two crucial breakthroughs in the form of Rohit Sharma (42) and Virat Kohli (61), who both looked in fine knick while they lasted on the crease.
McKay in the 40th over scalped one of the best finishers in world cricket — MS Dhoni — to deal a crushing blow to India’s hopes of making a match out of it.
After their skipper departed, the Indian tail failed to wag and only managed to add 36 more runs. The Indian innings folded well before the full quota of 50 overs as the Aussies romped home by 72 runs.