After the high of the first ever Test-series win in Australia, Team India was quickly grounded by the hosts, as they were handed a 34-run defeat at the hands of Australia in the first ODI of the 3-match series at the SCG.
Batting first, Australia put on 288/5 in 50 overs with Peter Handscomb top scoring with 73 and Khawaja and Shaun Marsh making 50s and Stoinis giving the big push to the Australian total. Kuldeep Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked two wickets each.
Indian chase was derailed in the first five overs as Jhye Richardson removed Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu in the same over and with debutant Jason Behrendorff removing Dhawan for a golden duck, India was 4/3 in the blink of an eye.
Rohit Sharma scored 133, his 22nd century in ODIs and with MS Dhoni (51 in 96) slowly rebuild the innings, but when both of them were dismissed, India ended up on 254/9 in 50 overs. India’s middle overs were spent rebuilding which saw MS Dhoni scoring just 6 runs in 30 odd balls at one time. His wicket after such a partnership too put undue pressure on Rohit to shoulder the chase.
In the after-match presentation, Virat Kohli highlighted this issue and said, “We are not very pleased with the way we played. I thought we were fine with the ball, score of 300+ was par on that wicket. We thought 280 was chaseable on that wicket but losing three wickets in such a short span of time is never good. Rohit was outstanding and MS supported him well but we could have done better with the tempo of the game. They took the game deep, deep enough for us to feel we have a chance. MS got out at the wrong time as he was looking to up the scoring rate at that point. If we would have had one more partnership, we would have been close to the target.”
He also added, “We lost early wickets and Australia were professional enough to not get us back in. Rayudu got a good ball, Shikhar was out on the first ball so you can't really look too much into it and I hit it sweetly but straight to the fielder. These things happen in ODI cricket but you don't stop playing shots. I think we have to take it as a day on which Australia played better than us. We are not stressed about the results, we need to figure out the things we need to improve as a side. Looking forward to the World Cup, I think every side has to have the best combination. The defeats like these make you aware of the things you need to improve on. We just want to play good cricket and correct our mistake in the next match.”
Aaron Finch, on the other hand, was mighty pleased with the win and said, “Yeah, very pleased with the performance. We needed to take it deep with the ball and took the wickets at the crucial time. I thought we got a par total, Peter played a gem. In the middle period we played really well. We didn't score a lot of runs in the middle overs but we saved the wickets for the final overs. Jhye and Jason are full of confidence, they both have a good future ahead of them. We can always improve, it will be a good series.”
The Man of the Match Jhye Richardson, who picked 4/26, said, “Credit to them, they gave us a run for our money in those middle overs. When you have a team three down early, it becomes difficult to bounce back. I am very happy to get (Kohli's) wicket, but more happy with the win. As a bowling unit, we are clear about our plans, doing our homework and being professional out there. I think it was about assessing the conditions more than anything else. Felt like bashing the wicket was quite difficult here. In the end, it became easier to bowl with the softer ball. My finger's fine.”