Steve Smith and Finch come out all guns blazing in 1st ODI

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Australia always believes is beginning strongly.

This is a legacy of the Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting era when Australia will pile on the maximum pressure in the first few overs to put the opposition on the back foot.

This was in evidence again as Aussie captain Aaron Finch won the toss and chose to bat first against India in the opening ODI of the international summer at the SCG.

Steve Smith returned to the team in place of Mitchel Marsh – who was part of their last ODI team, against England in early 2020.

India went with Mayank Agarwal at the top of the order opposite Shikhar Dhawan, in the absence of Rohit Sharma.

Finch leads by example

Finch set the tone with a brilliant 114 with 9 fours and 2 sixes.

With Warner who compiled a belligerent 69, they put on a 156 run opening partnership in about 25 overs that put Australia in command.

Steve Smith, coming back with IPL wounds still fresh, also looked in ominous form cracking an effortless 105, off just 66 balls. It was his 10th ODI ton and the third fastest ODI century by an Aussie.

His strike rate of 159 would have been worthy of a T20 match, forget a 50 over ODI.

Much was expected of India’s much vaunted pace attack. But they flattered to deceive.

In all, they went for a whopping 215 runs off 30 overs. Especially disappointing was Bumrah whose bowling lacked its usual bite and looked absolutely toothless, going for 73 runs in 10 overs.

To that in perspective, Bumrah’s economy in the T20 format is lower than 7!

To rub salt into the wounds, Glenn Maxwell smashed 45 in just 19 balls at the end to take Australia to 374 off 50 overs. Looks like Virender Sehwag’s words about Maxwell being an ‘expensive cheer leader’ has stung him and he decided to reply in the best possible fashion – on the field!

Two bowlers whom Kohli has consistently backed, Navdep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal went for 83 and 89 runs respectively.

The lack of a 6th bowler hurt India as there was no Plan B in case the top 5 bowlers failed.

At the time of writing this post, India were 38 for no wicket in 2.5 overs. No doubt, a strong reply but still a long way to go.

Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli (capt), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah