Shikhar Dhawan kicks the ball away from the stumps as Alex Carey watches during the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday. AP
Gulf Today Report
Australia defeated India by 66 runs in the first One-Day International (ODI) at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.
Though there was a rearguard action from Hardik Pandya, who got his highest ODI score (90 off 76 balls) and added 128 runs for the fifth wicket with opener Shikhar Dhawan (74 off 86), Australia's total of 374 for six wickets in 50 overs, their highest against India in one-dayers, proved too daunting.
India finished at 308 for eight wickets in 50 overs.
India lost their first three wickets inside the first 10 overs to lose momentum. Both Agarwal and fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan had given India a turbo-charged start with a 53-run opening stand in just over five overs. But then Hazlewood struck with three short-pitched deliveries to dent India's march, picking Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, and Shreyas Iyer.
India's Mayank Agarwal reacts during the first ODI match. Reuters
"The pitch has tennis-ball bounce. The batsmen, both Agarwal and Kohli, found that the deliveries with the extra bounce finished slightly higher than it would do at Indian wickets," said former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar while commentating on television.
Earlier, skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith scored centuries to lead Aussie charge, after Australia won the toss.
Finch made 114 from 124 deliveries with the help of nine 4s and two 6s while Smith scored 105 off just 66 balls — with 11x4s and four 6s — as the hosts took heavy toll on hapless Indian bowlers who had no option to fall back on.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the most severely hit, going for 89 in his 10-over spell. He could pick just one wicket. Electing to bat, the hosts started steadily with both Finch and David Warner taking their time to adjust to the pitch. However, once they got settled, there was no looking back as the pair shared a 156-run
opening wicket partnership in 27.5 overs.
During the course of the partnership, Finch became the second-fastest Australian to score 5,000 ODI runs (126 innings, 11 more than Warner).
Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur, in just his second Test, put on 123 runs for the seventh wicket — a record for India at the Gabba — taking their team from a precarious 186 for seven to 309 before Thakur was bowled by Pat Cummins for an entertaining 67.
Dhoni, 39, called time on his 16-year-old international career Saturday with a cryptic message on his Instagram post that read "From 1929hrs consider me as retired."
The players — Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini — are being kept away from the rest of the Indian and Australian squads ahead of the third Test starting in Sydney on Thursday.
Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) will lead the squad alongside Sports Directors Andrej Hauptman (Slo), Simone Pedrazzini (Swi) and Marco Marcato (Ita).
Indian women will play a three ODI series in the captaincy of the Harmanpreet Kaur against Sri Lanka’s 19-member squad, which is being led by Chamari Athapaththu.
A dominant England has swept New Zealand 3-0 in the Test series with an aggressive seven-wicket victory in the third and final Test match on Monday.