Cricket: Steve Smith, Aaron Finch centuries see Australia ease past India in first ODI

Steve Smith has hit a 62-ball century and Aaron Finch also scored a hundred, as Australia opened their home summer with a 66-run one-day victory over India in Sydney. 

The Sydney Cricket Ground capacity was halved under social distancing rules, but a crowd of 17,821, mostly backing the tourists, were treated to fireworks from the home batsmen in the afternoon sun.

Finch scored 114 in an opening stand of 156 with David Warner (69) to lay a platform, before his predecessor as captain, Smith, smashed 105 off 66 balls to drive Australia to 374/6 - their highest total against India.

The tourists, who were forced to spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival in Australia, were always struggling to chase down the third-highest ODI tally they had ever conceded.

Hardik Pandya thumped four sixes in a bright 90 to give them hope, but the innings petered out after his fifth-wicket partnership of 128 with opener Shikhar Dhawan (74) was broken and India limped to 308/8 in their 50 overs.

"I've been searching for something for a couple of months, but a few days ago, something just clicked," says Smith. "It was nice to contribute to a good win."

Before the match, the teams lined up in a 'Barefoot Circle' in recognition of indigenous Australians, and moments of silence remembered Dean Jones, who died last month, and Phillip Hughes, who suffered a fatal injury at the ground exactly six years ago.

Both teams taking part in the 'Barefoot Circle'.
Both teams taking part in the 'Barefoot Circle'. Photo credit: Getty

There was another short pause early in the Australia innings, when two environmental protesters ran on the field, but Finch and Warner were soon back pillaging runs again.

Smith survived an early scare on 15, when he was given out leg before wicket, but he immediately reviewed and the tracker showed the ball was going a whisker above the stumps.

Afterwards, Smith looked at his very best, racing to the third fastest one-day century by an Australian in 62 balls, clubbing 10 fours and four sixes.

Finch had already secured his 17th century in the format from a more pedestrian 117 deliveries, before departing to make way for a vintage Glenn Maxwell cameo of 45 runs off 19 balls.

Paceman Mohammed Shami was the pick of India's bowlers (3/59) and skittled Smith with a full toss in the final over of the innings.

Josh Hazlewood (3/55) stalled a blistering start to India's innings, removing Mayank Agarwal, and then dismissing Virat Kohli (21) and Shreyas Iyer in the 10th over.

Spinner Adam Zampa (4/54) redeemed himself with ball in hand, after dropping Kohli in the deep, when the India captain was on one, but his was only one of a string of misfields from both sides.

India play two more one-dayers in Sydney and Canberra, before a three-match T20 series and four tests around the New Year.

"I think we had enough preparation, so no excuses," says Kohli. "The key to keeping the batsmen in check is picking up wickets and we couldn't do that." 


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