Riding on the clinical exhibitions from the top-order trio of David Warner (69), Aaron Finch (114), and Steve Smith (105), the hosts defeated India by 66 runs in Sydney and managed to draw the first blood in the three-match ODI series. Team India, on the other hand, suffered their fourth straight defeat in the 50-over formats – the first time since 2016.
Opting to bat first, Australia capitalized well on the powerplay and scored heavily in the middle-overs that cemented the chances of a majestic total. Post Warner and Finch’s dismissal, it was the duo of Glenn Maxwell (45, 19b) and Steve Smith (105, 65b) that took on the onus of scoring quickfire runs in the last ten overs and ensured that they reach a score of 374 runs in 50 overs.
Speaking on the comprehensive win to start the much-coveted limited-overs contest, Australian skipper Aaron Finch lauded the batting efforts from – Warner who added a 156-run opening stand, Smith’s fearless striking from the very delivery, and finally Maxwell for the carnage he unleashed at the later stages of the game that catapulted their team to a winning total.
Create your own fantasy team now on the MPL Fantasy cricket app
“Found it reasonably hard to get my timing. Took a couple of chances, got lucky. We have barely been together as a team. Each guy has different strengths and weaknesses. You embrace that. Davey, he is moving beautifully. His rhythm looked outstanding. Smudge was a different class together. Maxi, the rare ability he has got to just click his fingers and put pressure on the opposition,” said the 34-year-old in the post-match presentation.
With the century at SCG, Aaron Finch became the second-fastest Australian cricketer to reach the 5000-run mark in ODIs, as he achieved the feat in 126 innings, surpassing the late Dean Jones who took 128 innings. David Warner (115 innings) still remains the fastest Australian cricketer to have scored 5000 runs in 50-over cricket.
In the bowling department, pacer Josh Hazelwood shone as he dismissed India’s middle-order trio of Virat Kohli (21), Shreyas Iyer (2), and KL Rahul (12) before the 14th over in the second innings, which too a large extent, affected India’s scoring ability. He ended with figures of 10-0-55-3, followed by leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who tore through tourist’s middle-order and emerged as the highest wicket-taker with 4/56 in his quota of ten overs. Mitchell Starc (1/65) had an expensive outing while Pat Cummins, Marcus Stoinis, and Maxwell remained wicketless.
My rhythm came back, everything came back: Steve Smith
Meanwhile, Steve Smith, who was adjudged as the ‘Player of the Match’ for his chaotic 105 off 66 deliveries that comprised 11 fours and 4 sixes, mentioned that he had been searching for the rhythm in his batting in the last couple of months. Even in the concluded edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Smith was finding it difficult to find a consistent run with the bat throughout, but nonetheless, he managed to get back his lost momentum just a few days prior to the home series against India.
“Have been searching for something for a couple of months now. About three days ago something just clicked. My rhythm came back, everything came back. Finchy and Davey played very well early on. We could come in and be aggressive,” said the Sydney-born cricketer.
He added, “Wasn’t thinking too much out there, just seeing the ball and hitting it. Was seeing the ball well. It was a good surface. I took a few more risks than I would normally. I targeted some bowlers and fortunately, it came off. Nice to contribute to a good win.”
The teams will now be gearing up for the second ODI that is scheduled to be played on November 29 at Sydney Cricket Ground.