Australia have put up a stiff target of 293 for India in the first ODI at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara. India’s highest succesful chase against Australians till date is just around 275 which was way back in 1998 in Sharjah. The pitch looks excellent for batting and has shown signs of aiding turn while the outfield has been very quick.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Australia were pegged down by the early loss of Shane Watson, who was lbw to Nehra in the 2nd over. Wicket Keeper batsman Tim Paine along with Skipper Ricky Ponting saw through some good swing bowling from Nehra and Praveen Kumar for a brief period. Once the pitch got better, both batsmen eased into their shots and carried on well to set up a platform. It was only in the 19th over that the Indians could get their next breakthrough with Paine (50 from 62 balls with 9 fours) edging a cut off Ishant Sharma. Paine put on 97 runs for the second wicket with Ponting.
Against the run of play, India found another breakthrough, this one in the 30th over when Ponting was too casual in a flick shot to get lbw to a turning ball from left armer Ravindra Jadeja. Ponting looked in sublime form in his 74 from 85 balls (with 8 fours and 2 sixes). The Indian bowlers had to be content with one more partnership as White and Hussey took the score from 151 for 3 to 227 for 4 in the 43rd over until the former got out attempting a slog. White too scored a half century, he scored 50 from 67 balls with 3 fours and a six.
The Australians had taken the batting powerplay in the 43rd over and it wasn’t a productive phase for them. But in the end, Michael Hussey found a lot of gaps in the outfield to race away to 74 from just 55 balls (with 8 fours and a straight six off Praveen Kumar). He fell in the final over of the innings which saw Ishant Sharma concede just the one run! Australia finished with a good total of 292 for 8.
It wasn’t a great day on the field for the Indians with plenty of fumbles. The bowling was just average on what was a reddish brown batting-friendly wicket. Ishant Sharma was perhaps the best of the lot and he finished with 3 for 50 in his 10 overs. Jadeja was given some respect especially by Ponting and his figures look decent with 1 for 39 from 9. Harbhajan Singh disappointed again by not taking enough wickets and at the same time proving expensive.