Wed, Jan 13, 2016 - Page 20 News List

Sharma’s unbeaten 171 not enough as Australia win ODI

AFP, PERTH, Australia

India’s Rohit Sharma celebrates after scoring a century in their first one-day international match against Australia in Perth, Australia, yesterday.

Photo: AP

Steve Smith and George Bailey both scored centuries as Australia cruised to a five-wicket win over India in the first one-day international (ODI) at the WACA yesterday.

After India opener Rohit Sharma scored an unbeaten 171 to lead his team to an imposing 309-3, Australia got away to a rocky start when left-arm seamer Barinder Sran removed both openers in his first three overs.

Playing on a lifeless pitch, which offered nothing for the bowlers, Bailey and Smith played brilliantly to frustrate the India attack.

Bailey was the more aggressive early and reached his century before his captain, taking just 106 balls, hitting six boundaries and two sixes.

Smith began to accelerate and followed Bailey to three figures soon after, off only 97 balls, including six fours and a towering six.

Bailey eventually fell when he tried to smash another six off Ravi Ashwin and was caught on the boundary by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but Smith continued his incredible vein of form.

He smashed his way to 149, but, with only two runs needed for victory, he chipped Sran to cover where Virat Kohli claimed an easy catch, leaving James Faulkner to hit the winning run.

India must have been confident of defending their total after Sran’s impressive start.

He brilliantly caught and bowled Finch (8) in his second over, then had the dangerous Warner (5) caught at midwicket by Kohli in his third.

However, the ease with which Australia chased the score down showed that India had not scored quickly enough in the middle of their innings and were at least 20 runs short of a competitive total.

Earlier Sharma and Kohli (91) shared a 207-run partnership for the second wicket against a toothless Australia attack.

India lost opener Shikhar Dhawan (9) in the sixth over when he top-edged an attempted pull from Josh Hazlewood straight to Mitchell Marsh at deep backward square leg.

However, that brought Kohli to the crease and signaled a long period of complete dominance over the Australia attack as he raced to the highest individual ODI score against Australia on Australian soil, eclipsing Viv Richards’ 153 not out for the West Indies in 1979.

Sharma smashed 13 fours and cleared the boundary seven times to the delight of the large contingent of India fans at the ground.

He built his innings steadily, bringing up his 50 from 63 balls, his century from 122 and his 150 from 155, mixing quick singles with some powerful boundary hitting.

It was the fourth time Sharma has scored 150 in an ODI — a record only surpassed by countryman Sachin Tendulkar.

Sharma lost Kohli with the score on 243 and was joined at the crease by Dhoni, who joined in with 18 rapid runs before he was caught at mid-on by Boland.

However, despite the late flourish, India fell short and Australia were able to draw first blood in the five-match series.

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