Bailey, Finch, Faulkner sink India
Solid half-centuries from opener Aaron Finch and captain George Bailey – and a fine all-round performance from the talented James Faulkner – afforded Australia a comfortable 72-run victory in Sunday's first ODI in Pune.
Solid half-centuries from the hard-hitting Aaron Finch and captain George Bailey – and a fine all-round performance from the talented James Faulkner – afforded Australia a comfortable 72-run victory in Sunday's series opener in Pune.
Hosting its maiden ODI, the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium belied expectations of a low and slow pitch, ultimately unearthing all of 536 runs in front of an appreciative crowd.
Bailey's decision to bat first after winning the toss cherished early reward, with Finch and fellow opener Phil Hughes orchestrating a 110-run alliance inside 19 overs. With the foundation set, Bailey duly formed the backbone of the middle order en route to an authoritative 85.
While Hughes and Finch succeeded to the tune of 72 and 47 respectively, all-rounders Shane Watson and Adam Voges lamented respective and collective failure after scoring just nine runs between them.
The duo's shortfall was promptly expunged by the cavalier Glenn Maxwell and inventive Faulkner. Cranking a quintet of sixes, the pair largely ensured a final total of 304 for eight.
India, meanwhile, rued the expense of seamer Ishant Sharma and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The latter, in particular, is enduring an extended stretch of substandard form.
India's reply was an inadequate affair, with the in-form Virat Kohli's 61 and a complementary 42 from opener Rohit Sharma as good as it got in a defeated tally of 232 all out in 49.4 overs.
The visiting attack used the short ball to great effect, with left-armer Mitchell Johnson extracting intimidating pace and Faulkner the beneficiary of superb control. Finisher extraordinaire Mahendra Singh Dhoni's vigil was always going to be key and, when new-ball bowler Clint McKay removed the kingpin cheaply, the proverbial writing was on the wall.
India's final total, too, would have considerably poorer – were it not for tail-enders Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Vinay Kumar's late defiance. Part-time left-armer Finch's maiden ODI wicket, though, soon sealed the deal.
The Australians' triumph came at a cost, though, with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin accidentally poked in the eye by a celebrating Faulkner's rogue finger. Hughes, subsequently, kept wicket for a large part of India's innings.
Bailey beat Faulkner to the Man of the Match award, thanks to a fine innings that featured 10 boundaries and spanned a mere 82 deliveries. The second ODI will get underway at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Wednesday.
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