Rohit ton in vain at SCG
Rohit Sharma started his career as a father with a hundred in his very first knock but it was not enough to see India through in the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
Chasing Australia’s 289, India were rocked early by Jason Behrendorff who trapped Shikhar Dhawan for a golden duck. Jhye Richardson from the other end was quick to pounce too. He removed Virat Kohli for three and had Ambati Rayudu lbw for nought.
India were restricted to 4/3 and MS Dhoni got a promotion. He walked out to bat ahead of Dinesh Karthik and partnered Rohit Sharma as the visitors looked to rebuild.
Rohit Sharma took a while to get off the mark but when he did, his first scoring shot of the year was a six to Behrendorff on a free-hit over square leg.
Dhoni slowed the tempo of the game to help India resurrect. Rohit too was steady from the other end as the duo bailed the men in blue out of early trouble.
MS Dhoni blasted Nathan Lyon for a six over wide long-on as fans in Sydney started chanting his name. He started to rotate the strike with Rohit playing his shots at regular intervals.
In the first 20 overs, India had no fours to display but they had managed to clear the rope four times. Rohit Sharma had hit three sixes until then and the first four came in the 21st over when MS played a very wristy square cut.
The duo added 137 runs for the fourth wicket as Dhoni, who scored a half-century after 14 innings, decided to cut loose but fell prey to a bad decision. He was given out lbw on 51 to a ball that pitched outside leg.
Karthik fell on 21-ball 12 to Jhye Richardson as India’s troubles started to increase. Rohit from the other end got to his 22nd hundred but was falling short of support. He accelerated after getting to his 100 but India lost Jadeja and him in quick succession.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar fought a lone battle as India were restricted to 254/9 from their full-quota.
Early in the day, Australia skipper Aaron Finch won the toss and opted to bat first. Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed him cheaply with a booming in-swinger before Kuldeep Yadav, on the last ball before the end of the powerplay, bagged Alexy Carey through a sharp catch from Rohit Sharma at first-slip.
Australia revived themselves with Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh helping them go wicketless for 111 balls. Usman Khawaja frustrated India’s bowlers after settling in but Jadeja got him out lbw on 59 to stop his progress.
Shaun Marsh also played a similar knock to Khawaja, scoring a 70-ball 54 before Kuldeep Yadav dismissed him. Marcus Stoinis and Peter Handscomb realised that Australia were playing a long tail and decided to take their time before unleashing the big hits.
Handscomb got to his fifty with a six and went onto score 73 crucial runs before Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the better of him. Stoinis made full use of his slow start as the home side finished with 288 on the board thanks to a big 18-run last over.
India will need to win the next game on the 15th in Adelaide to stay alive in the series.