First ODI: Australia prevail in 'run'athon

Ton up Smith, Bailey put to shade Rohit's unbeaten 171 as hosts go 1-0 up

First ODI: Australia prevail in 'run'athon
Rohit Sharma’s scintillating unbeaten 171 went in vain as Australia rode on skipper Steve Smith’s fluent 149 to script a comfortable five-wicket victory in a high-scoring first one-dayer here on Tuesday.

On one of the flattest WACA tracks in recent times, India scored a commanding 309 for three courtesy Rohit’s brilliant strokeplay but the target seemed insufficient against the hosts, who relied on centuries by Smith and George Bailey (112) to overhaul the target in 49.2 overs.

Rohit’s 163-ball knock was the best by an Indian while vice-captain Virat Kohli also impressed with a 91-run effort as the duo added 207 runs for the second wicket.

But India’s poor bowling allowed the Australians to clinch a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Smith, who faced 163 balls, added a staggering 242 runs for the third wicket with another former captain Bailey as the home team knocked off the runs with ease.

While it was another heartbreaking end to a Rohit century that ended in a losing cause (his T20 hundred and ODI hundred against SA were scored in defeats), Australian skipper Smith again turned out to be India’s nemesis, pacing his innings to perfection.

Smith’s sequence of scores against the ‘Men In Blue’ across formats reads: 162 not out, 52 not out, 133, 28, 192, 14, 117, 71, 47, 105.

It also turned out to be the highest successful run-chase at the WACA and the third highest in an ODI in Australia.

The Indian bowling attack looked completely out of depth as the Smith-Bailey duo never did anything extraordinary but still managed to hammer Umesh Yadav and co with monotonic regularity.

For India, debutant Barinder Sran (3/56) managed to create an impression with early breakthroughs but the other bowlers failed to join the party.

Especially disappointing were India’s spin twins R Ashwin (2/68 in 9 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (0/61 in 9 overs) looked far from penetrative.

The two teams will now travel to Brisbane for the second ODI on Friday. Smith hit 11 fours and 2 sixes en route his fifth ODI ton while Bailey’s third hundred had seven fours and two sixes.

While Australia were 21 for two in the fifth over, things could have taken a different turn as Bailey looked to have gloved the first delivery he faced bowled by Sran. While Dhoni looked confident, Sran did not even go up with an appeal.

Bailey’s reprieve really cost India, but a lack of DRS couldn’t be blamed for this defeat. Along with Smith, he went about rebuilding the innings patiently and kept the scorecard ticking, looking to set the stage for a grandstand finish.

En route his ninth ODI hundred, the stylish right-hander from Mumbai broke a plethora of records, including the one where he surpassed Sir Vivian Richards’ 153 which has been the highest individual score against Australia in an ODI Down Under for the last 37 years. Australia got a taste of Rohit’s blazing blade especially towards the end when India scored 61 off the last five overs.

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