Australia’s Aaron Finch strikes the ball during the first ODI match against India at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, yesterday. The second ODI will take place on Wednesday.
PUNE: Australia raised their game to beat India by 72 runs in the opening game of the seven match ODI series at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here yesterday.
Aaron Finch (72 off 79 balls) and captain George Bailey (85 off 82) set up Australia’s 304 for eight before their bowlers did a brilliant job to stop India at 232 all out in 49.4 overs. James Faulkner struck thrice while other pacers Shane Watson and Clint Mckay picked up two wickets each.
It was a good comeback from the visitors who were outplayed in the one-off T20 Thursday.
The second ODI takes place in Jaipur Wednesday.
Australian bowlers learnt their lessons from the Rajkot tie and bowled a much better length, using the odd short and slower ball to good effect.
The stylish opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan (7) and Rohit Sharma (42) found it tough to push the scoring rate.
Faulkner had Dhawan caught behind with an away going ball. The left-arm pacer’s celebrations went awry as he ended up hitting wicketkeeper Brad Haddin in the eye while going for a high-five.
After the opener’s departure, Virat Kohli (61 off 85) and Suresh Raina (39 off 45) too did not get many loose deliveries from the opposition attack. They put up 71 runs together but were not able to find the boundaries needed to keep up with the asking rate.
Their fall along with the in-form Yuvraj Singh (7) meant Indian were struggling at 166 for five in the 35th over, needing another 139 off 92 balls to win the match,
It was time for another Mahendra Singh Dhoni special but when the Indian captain was bowled by Mckay, the target seemed out of reach for the hosts. The ball did just enough to disturb his off-stump.
Australia, just like the India innings, made a cautious start on a pitch assisting the fast