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Steve Smith

Smith, Finch tons headline Australia's thumping win

AUS v IND, 1st ODI, report

A nine-month long wait for India fans ended in disappointment as Australia clinched a 66-run victory in the first ODI to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

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The win means Australia have gained 10 crucial points in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League and are now level with England (in terms of points) in the standings table.

Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa combined to snap up seven wickets between them after Australia skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith brought up match-winning centuries.

India got off to a great start in the chase of a humongous 375, racing to 53 in the first five overs. However, Hazlewood expertly employed the short ball to dismiss Mayank Agarwal for 22. India captain Virat Kohli survived a dropped chance on one but could not capitalise, giving Hazlewood his second wicket. He picked up his third in the same over as Shreyas Iyer departed for a duck.

After KL Rahul's departure in the 14th over, the visitors were struggling at 101/4 but the intimidating duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya took the attack to the Australia bowlers. While Dhawan dropped anchor and played the second fiddle, Pandya accelerated the innings. He hit Glenn Maxwell for two sixes and a four in the 23rd over and continued to run rampant.

At 227/4 in 34 overs and still requiring 148 to win, Finch brought Zampa back into the attack. Zampa, who had dismissed Rahul earlier, provided yet another key breakthrough, dismissing Dhawan on 74. His partner's wicket slowed down Pandya, who fell to Zampa three overs later, just 10 short of what could have been his maiden ODI century.

As the required run-rate started creeping up, Australia's bowlers tightened the screws. Zampa completed a terrific match haul of 4/54,ย his second-best figures in ODIs, with the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja in the 46th over.

Late hitting from Mohammad Shami and Navdeep Saini did little to chip at the huge total and India succumbed to a 66-run loss.

Earlier, batting first, Australia survived initial jitters to amp up the scoring rate with openers Finch and David Warner getting to their respective half-centuries by the 23rd over. Warner, who completed his 22nd ODI fifty, was caught behind on 69 off Shami, providing India the first breakthrough at 156.

The hosts, however, continued unperturbed with Smith joining Finch in the middle. A long absence had done nothing to blunt Smith's brilliance as he complemented Finch's scoring rate. He survived a LBW decision on 15 and made the most out of the opportunity. Finch, on the other hand, brought up his 17th ODI hundred, his second in 2020. He is the highest run-scorer this year with 538 runs at 53.80.ย 

India briefly got back in the game with wickets in consecutive overs. Finch was caught behind off Jasprit Bumrah for 114, while Marcus Stoinis went for a golden duck off Yuzvendra Chahal.

However, Maxwell paired with Smith to dent India further. By the time he fell in the 45th over, Australia were already threatening to breach the 350-run mark. The incredible Smith soon smashed the third-fastest ODI hundred by an Australia player before being bowled in the final over by Shami.

The hosts finished on 374/6 โ€“ their highest total against India in men's ODIs, proving more than a match for the Indian side.ย 

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