It was a clash of the titans as two world heavyweights were ready to lock horns in a three-match ODI series in India. However, the series saw a contrasting start as India failed to turn up against a dominant Australian line-up as the visitors claimed an easy 10-wicket victory in the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium.
Having won the toss, Australian skipper Aaron Finch put India to bat first on a ground that supports chasing as a part of its history, especially in ODIs.
Virat Kohli and the Indian team management made the big call as Kohli pushed himself to No.4 in the batting order to accommodate all the three openers in contention at the top three spots. This meant India went in with only five bowlers expecting each one of them to bowl their entire quota of overs.
It was a dream start for the visitors as they were able to snap the prized wicket of Rohit Sharma inside the first few overs. However, a steady partnership between KL Rahul (47) and Shikhar Dhawan (74) saw the hosts pull their way back into the match as both the players took ample amount of time to settle in.
However, when things looked to work as per India’s plan, the opposition came storming in to inflict an Indian collapse at a critical stage of the game, Both, Rahul and Dhawan departed in quick succession and so did Kohli and Shreyas Iyer to push India onto the back foot.
The lower order couldn’t contribute much as the home team was bundled out for 255 in just 49.1 overs. It was an exceptional recovery from Australia as their seam bowlers didn’t allow the batters to play their shots with ease.
Chasing 256 to win on a ground that aids batting under lights, the visitors cashed-in the situation to make hay even before India could realize that the game was out of their reach.
The opening duo of Aaron Finch (110*) and David Warner (128*) put up an excellent show as their unbeaten stand of 258 runs saw their side cruise to an easy 10-wicket victory in a rather one-sided affair in Mumbai.
Both the openers registered centuries as none of the Indian bowlers could create inroads in the Australian batting order. Finch, who began to attack allowed his partner to settle-in before Warner took Indian bowling to the cleaners to notch up his third ODI ton against India,
With a crucial 1-0 in this short series, the tourists will feel comfortable as they head into the next ODI in Rajkot on January 17. It will be a do-or-die encounter for Kohli and his boys, who were left with a lot to ponder upon after a heavy defeat against their nemesis.
Cover image credits: The Statesman