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Finch, Smith batting masterclass sinks India in first ODI as Aussies take lead

Australia rode on a batting masterclass from skipper Aaron Finch and Steven Smith to defeat India by 66 runs for a 1-0 lead in their three-match ODI Series on Friday.

Electing to bat first at the Sydney Cricket Ground where Australia suggested they are ready to begin life after COVID-19 pandemic allowing spectators, Finch and Smith smashed centuries as the hosts compiled a mammoth 375-6 in 50 overs.

India wobbled early on despite a rocking start and Australia only needed to cancel out a century partnership between Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya before restricting the visitors to 308-8 in 50 overs.

An erratic Mitchell Starc gave India a desired start when he took 11 balls to complete his first over where the opponents collected 20 runs. India raced to 50 runs inside six overs before Josh Hazlewood struck.

Hazlewood removed opener Mayank Agarwal (22), skipper Virat Kohli (21) and Shreyas Iyer (two) reducing them to 80-3.

Josh Hazlewood did the early trick with the wickets of Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer.

Adam Zampa, who dropped Kohli on two off Starc but ultimately didn’t cost much to the Aussies, got rid of KL Rahul before Dhawan and Pandya tried to resurrect the innings. The two batsmen collected 128 runs for the fifth wicket and just when it seemed the partnership could be dangerous, Zampa struck again.

First he dismissed Dhawan and followed it with the prized scalp of Pandya as the Indian challenge virtually ended. On a pitch designed for the batsmen, Zampa bowled exceptionally well to take 54-4 from 10 overs and Hazlewood took 55-3.

Pandya hit seven fours and four sixes in his 76-ball 90 and Dhawan’s 86-ball 74 included 10 hits to the fence.

Adam Zampa was the clear winner for the Aussies with the ball.

Earlier, India were set a record target to chase at the SCG after Finch gave Australia a solid start adding 156 runs for the first wicket inside 28 overs. Warner missed out his 19th ODI ton after the opener was given out on a lengthy review for a catch behind the wicket to KL Rahul off Mohammad Shami.

Warner made 69 off 76 with six hits to the fence. India were initially under control although they failed to break the big first wicket partnership. But the damage was done by the two big partnerships after the departure of Warner.

Finch and Smith collected 108 runs from their partnership that lasted just 71 deliveries. The impact was made by Smith-Maxwell pair when they added 57 runs in no time with Maxwell punishing the Indian bowlers.

Finch scored his 14th ODI ton but paid a moving tribute to his teammate Phil Hughes when he was batting on 63.

Maxwell smashed a crucial 19-ball 45 with five fours and three sixes. Smith was equally menacing hitting a 66-ball 105 with 11 fours and four sixes. It was the former Australian captain’s ninth ODI century, while Finch got his 16th. Finch’s 124-ball 114 included nine fours and two sixes.

Mohammad Shami took 3-59 from 10 overs for India. Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal all got wickets but were hit for plenty of runs.

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