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Aussies win series opener



Centuries from Aaron Finch and Steve Smith has led Australia to an impressive 66 run win over India at the SCG on Friday night.


Finch (114) and Smith (105) made the most of ideal batting conditions to lead Australia to a total of 6-374, David Warner (69) and Glenn Maxwell (45 off just 19 balls) playing their part in setting India a mammoth score.


All-rounder Hardik Pandya hit 90 and opener Shikhar Dhawan made 74, but four wickets from leg spinner Adam Zampa including both set batsmen restricted India to 8-308 from their 50 overs.


In Australia's first international match on home soil since March captain Finch won the toss and chose to bat in sunny conditions, partnering David Warner in a 156 run stand.


Warner looked in excellent touch from the outset, Finch taking longer to find his feet as Virat Kohli's side struggled for a breakthrough.


Warner was deemed to have edged behind off Mohammed Shami, given out upon review despite confusion over whether the left hander had edged the ball or hit the ground with his bat.


Finch eased his way to a century as Smith arrived at the crease, having an LBW verdict overturned on 15 with replays showing the ball to be bouncing over the stumps from the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.


Smith then changed gears, clouting a 31 ball half century to put Australia well on top in the match.


Finch fell for 114 from 124 balls to Jasprit Bumrah after striking nine fours and two sixes in his knock, his 18th ODI century in Australian colours.


Marcus Stoinis fell first ball but Glenn Maxwell was in aggressive touch from the outset, smashing five fours and three sixes in a whirlwind knock of 45, picking out long on from the bowling of Shami in pursuit of more quick runs.


Smith reached his fastest hundred for Australia in just 62 balls, having hit eleven fours and four sixes in a superb innings, the third fastest ODI hundred by an Australian batsman.


Australia closed with 6-374 from their 50 overs, Shami (3-59) the only multiple wicket taker for India in a poor bowling and fielding display.


Mitch Starc's opening over lasted 11 balls and went for 20 as he struggled to find his groove with the ball, openers Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan getting the chase off to a flier.


The 50 was raised inside five overs before Agarwal miscued a lifting Josh Hazlewood delivery, caught backpedaling Glenn Maxwell at point off a steepled top edge.


Talisman Kohli was given a life early when he was dropped by Adam Zampa at fine leg having scored only one, then striking the unlucky bowler Pat Cummins for two fours and a six to rub salt in to the wound.


Having eased to 21 Kohli picked out his opposite skipper Finch at short midwicket off Hazlewood, Shreyas Iyer (2) bounced out in the same over as India slumped to 3-80.


Dhawan remained defiant but when KL Rahul slapped a full toss to cover having made 12 the innings had lost it's way with India 4-101.


Unable to bowl as he recovers from a back injury Hardik Pandya made an impact with the bat, striking Zampa and Maxwell for early sixes to get his innings underway.


Dhawan had 50 when Pat Cummins lost a skied hook shot in the lights at fine leg, the ball bouncing past him at catchable height for four to give the left hander his 30th ODI half century.


The partnership reached 128 to breathe life back in to the contest, before Dhawan lofted a drive to Mitch Starc at mid-off to depart for 74, having hit ten boundaries.


The same bowler-catcher combination removed Pandya for a career high ODI score of 90, the game fizzling out from that point on as India's task became impossible with no recognised batsmen at the crease.


Zampa would finish with 4-54 from 10 overs, Hazlewood doing the early damage with 3-55 as Australia went 1-0 up in the series.


The win was soured by an apparent side strain for all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who left the field in his seventh over and played no further part in the match, scans to reveal the extent of the damage.


The second ODI of three will take place at the same venue on Sunday, Australia hoping to close out the series with a match remaining.


IMAGE: Cricket Australia.





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