By: Pramod Thomas
Mohammad Shami’s bowling figures of 3-17 and an unbeaten 75 by KL Rahul helped India beat Australia by five wickets in the first one-day international on Friday (17).
Australia were bowled out for 188 in 35.4 overs after a dramatic collapse following opener Mitchell Marsh’s 65-ball 81 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
In a tricky chase, India were in trouble at 39-4 before Rahul stayed calm and put on key partnerships including an unbeaten 108-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja, who made 45, to achieve victory in 39.5 overs.
The hosts lead the three-match series 1-0 with the two teams warming up for the 50-over World Cup later this year in India.
Bowlers ruled in the ODI opener with Shami and Mohammed Siraj taking three wickets each to make Australia slide from a strong 129-2 after being invited to bat first.
The Australian innings turned on its head after Marsh, who is playing as a specialist batsman after recovering from an ankle injury, departed in the 20th over.
He put on 72 runs for the second wicket with skipper Steve Smith and smashed 10 fours and five sixes to take the wind out of the Indian bowlers who hit back with wickets.
Marsh reached his fifty with a boundary and another four got Australia past 100 before he fell to Jadeja in his attempt to go after the left-arm spinner and got caught.
Australia suddenly lost their way as Shami with help from Jadeja and Siraj ripped through the rest of the Australian order.
Josh Inglis, who donned the wicketkeeping gloves after Alex Carey was ruled out sick, looked good in his knock of 26 before being bowled by Shami.
Shami then sent back Cameron Green (12) and Marcus Stoinis (5) to break the back of the opposition batting.
Australia’s pace spearhead hurt India early in the chase with three his wickets after fellow quick Stoinis took down left-handed opener Ishan Kishan lbw for three.
Starc, a left-arm quick, then struck on successive deliveries to send back Virat Kohli (4) and Suryakumar Yadav (0) — both lbw.
Rahul, who recently lost his place to Shubman Gill in the final two Tests against Australia after an extended batting slump, played out the hat-trick ball but Starc got Gill out for 20.
Rahul and skipper Hardik Pandya, who made his debut as ODI captain in the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, put on 44 runs.
Pandya fell to Stoinis on 25 but Rahul stood firm with the left-handed Jadeja, who hit the winning runs.
Rahul reached his 13th ODI fifty and then changed gears as he hit Adam Zampa for a four and six as India won with more than 10 overs to spare.
The second ODI is on Sunday in Visakhapatnam.