What Rohit Sharma can do, Steve Smith can do better — even if he scores 22 runs less. The Aussie skipper didn’t just walk in the middle after the fall of first Australian wicket in the third over, he sprinted in. And by the middle overs in Australian chase, Smith along with his oft stand-in replacement George Bailey threatened to race past the daunting target of 310, all by themselves.
Though, both were dismissed before Australia reached the finish line, they had carved through the innings with an imposing 242 run partnership that helped the Oz defeat India comprehensively in the first One Day International of the five-match India-Australia series down under.
Captain Steve Smith scored 149 and George Bailey was out after a well made 112.
Picking from where he had left in the last meeting between the sides, which was the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup, Smith was the picture of perfection – light on feet, high on back-lift, strong on cuts, flawless on pulls and menacing at straight shots. And the result was just the same.
Chasing under the golden sun and clear blue sky, a picture reversal of what it was when MS Dhoni made a call to bat under the overcast condition, Australia was reduced to 21 for the loss of both the openers in 5th over.
But Smith and Bailey looked undeterred and unnerved, even after a reprieve to the latter before he could trouble the scorers.
The two batsmen were especially severe on India’s frontline slow bowlers – Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja – who were plundered for 129 runs in 18 overs between them. Ashwin, though, was able to add to his wicket tally but it was too late and devoid of any consequence.
The silver line, however, for Team India was the debutant pacer Barinder Sran, who sent back both Aaron Finch and dangerous David Warner just before the two could open their shoulders. The 23-year-old pacer from Punjab, who often clocked above 130 kmph, consumed both the openers by the 16th ball of his International debut.
In the end, Sran’s stats read impressive 3 wickets for 56 in 9.2 overs. His scalps included that of man of the match Steve Smith.
Earlier, Team India got off to a cracking start with ace opener Rohit Sharma amassing a magnificent 171 not out as India scored 309 for the loss of 3 wickets batting first at the WACA.
On way to his ninth ODI century, studded with 13 fours and 7 sixes facing 163 balls, Sharma got passed legendary Vivian Richard’s 153 runs – the highest individual score against Australia on their home turf. The stylish left-handed opener from Mumbai was backed well by Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli, who regained his good touch down under scoring a very well-crafted 91.
Some believe Kohli was tad unlucky to have missed out on his 12th ODI ton, which included 9 shots to the boundary and a six. The two surpassed 199 between Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman for the second wicket against Australia stamping a 207-run stand.
Men in blue scored 61 runs in the last five overs of their innings, making the most of Australia’s debutant pace duo – Joel Paris and Scott Boland. The two conceded 127 runs in 18 overs between them.
Left-arm fast bowler Joel Paris went wicket-less giving away 53 runs in 8 overs while right arm medium fast Scott Boland returned with 74 in 10 overs without a wicket. Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Marsh, meanwhile, stood out with former claiming a wicket for 41 runs in 10 overs and the latter conceding 53 in 9 overs.