Australia’s Warner and Finch smash tons to thrash India in first ODI


(Online Desk)

Australia openers David Warner and Aaron Finch both struck superb centuries to complement their bowlers’ inspired display as the touring side handed out a 10-wicket thrashing to India in the opening one-day international in Mumbai.

India, world-ranked No 2 in ODIs, suffered a middle-order collapse on their way to being bundled out for 255 in the final over of their innings after Australia captain Finch won the toss and opted to field in the first of the three-match series.

Warner and Finch then smashed the Indian bowlers to all corners of the ground, picking up boundaries seemingly at will to chase down the target with 74 balls to spare at the Wankhede Stadium.

Left-handed Warner successfully used the decision review system twice to overturn the umpire’s decision on his way to his 18th ODI century, hitting three sixes and 17 fours in his unbeaten knock of 128, from 112 balls. Finch completed his 16th century in the format, his unbeaten innings 110 from 114 features two sixes and 13 fours.

Earlier, Australia’s left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc, who made his ODI debut in India 10 years ago, picked up three wickets to set up Australia’s victory. He struck the first blow with the new ball when he sent back Rohit Sharma for 10.

India managed to recover from that early loss through a second-wicket stand of 121 between opener Shikhar Dhawan, who top-scored for the hosts with 74, and KL Rahul. However left-arm spinner Ashton Agar broke the stand by dismissing Rahul for 47 before Agar caught Dhawan off Pat Cummins in the next over.

The hosts were hoping for a solid innings from captain Virat Kohli, who batted a position lower than his usual No 3 spot to accommodate Rahul, to get them out of trouble. However, he lasted only 14 balls, hitting leg-spinner Adam Zampa for a six before offering a return catch to the bowler on the very next delivery to be out for 16.

Starc then returned to the attack, removing Shreyas Iyer cheaply as India lost four wickets for 30 runs to be reduced to 164 for five. Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja then fell just short of a half-century partnership, before the remaining four wickets falling for 42 runs, with Cummins and fast bowler Kane Richardson picking up two wickets apiece for Australia.

To compound India’s woes, wicketkeeper Pant suffered a concussion after being hit on his helmet by a short-pitched delivery from Cummins. The Indian cricket board said Pant, who did not come out to keep wicket and was replaced behind the stumps by Rahul, was under observation. The two sides will meet in Rajkot for the second ODI on Friday.