Despite a wonderful century from Rohit Sharma, Australia claimed a 34-run victory against India in the first ODI at the SCG. 

Australia took an unassailable 1-0 lead against India in the three-match ODI series with their all-round performances. Host won the toss and opted to bat first. Bhuvneshwar Kumar handed over the first breakthrough to India after picking up Finch for mere 6; which was his 100th ODI wicket.

Usman Khawaja joined Alex Carey at the middle. Both started building a partnership. Carey hit back to back boundaries and tried to score as much as they can within the powerplay. But his innings came to an end in the 10th over in Kuldeep Yadav’s delivery for 24 when he tried to hit it late and got a thick edge while Rohit Sharma took a sharp catch at slip.

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Carey’s dismissal brought Shaun Marsh at the crease. Having lost both their openers within the first powerplay, Khawaja and Marsh tried to steady the ship and provided a 92-run partnership. Jadeja was able to break the partnership by taking up Khwaja by trapping him before the wicket for 59.

Soon, Marsh too followed him in the dugout after scoring 54 off 70. This time, it was Kuldeep Yadav who took the wicket and handed over another breakthrough to his team. At the other end, Peter Handscomb stood strong and ensured that they could set up a big total. He got great support from Marcus Stoinis. Handscomb scored a quickfire 73 off 61 before falling off to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Along with this, Stoinis’s 47* off 43 guided Australia to put up a decent competitive total of 288 on board after 50 overs.

While chasing this huge total, India was needed a steady partnership. But their chase started with the loss of the opener Shikhar Dhawan. Debutant Jason Behrendorff trapped Shikhar Dhawan in front for a golden duck in the very first over.

In the 4th over, it was Richardson; who provided a double breakthrough to his team by picking up Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu and India soon reduced to 4 for 3. MS Dhoni came to his side’s rescue and joined Rohit Sharma at the crease. While Rohit Sharma took 18 deliveries to get off the mark, he stated with a free-hit for a six off Behrendorff; which was the only boundary in the first 10 overs.

India scored mere 21 runs within the powerplay. Both the batters found it difficult to rotate the strike. After that, both of them tried to accelerate the innings a little bit while they both started hitting the bowlers for boundaries and over-boundaries. While Rohit hit Siddle for a six in the 14th over in a short delivery, Dhoni did it in Lyon’s delivery.

Runs started coming with the rotation of the strike along with the boundaries. Dhoni hit Stoinis at mid-on, picked up a boundary and completed his 68th ODI half-century in 93 balls. Both the batters added 137 runs with a steady association. But before they could move further, Behrendorff trapped Dhoni in front of the wicket. Dhoni reached his 10,000 ODI runs as well.

His dismissal brought Dinesh Karthik on the crease. Despite the 137-run stand between Dhoni and Rohit, the required run rate was rising rapidly. Karthik couldn’t use his chance wisely and got dismissed by Richardson after scoring only 12.

The pressure fell upon Rohit Sharma as he wasn’t getting support from the other batters. However, he completed his 22nd ODI century in 110 balls. It was his fifth ODI 100 in Australia – highest by a visiting batsman alongside Kumar Sangakkara. While he was trying to anchor the innings, Ravindra Jadeja handed over Marsh an easy catch at the backward point and became Richardson’s fourth victim.

Soon Rohit too got dismissed after playing a blistering inning of 133 off 129 with 10 fours and 6 sixes. Jhye Richardson bagged 4 wickets while Behrendorff and Stoinis took 2 each for Australia. Bhuvneshwar Kumar played a quickfire 23-ball 29 but his effort wasn’t enough to win the match as India lost it by 34 runs.

Brief scores:

Australia 288/5 in 50 overs (Peter Handscomb 73, Usman Khawaja 59, Shaun Marsh 54; Kuldeep Yadav 2-54) beat India 254/9 in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 133, MS Dhoni 51; Jhye Richardson 4-26, Jason Behrendorff 2-39) by 34 runs.

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