Australian captain Steve Smith’s brilliant 149 overshadowed Rohit Sharma’s magnificent 171 as the hosts flayed India’s listless bowling attack en route a comprehensive five-wicket victory in the first ODI of the five-match series.
On one of the flattest WACA tracks in recent times, India reached a commanding 309 for three courtesy Rohit’s unbeaten 171 off 163 balls. Virat Kohli’s attractive 91 was the other significant contribution as the duo added 207 runs for the second wicket.
In reply, Smith, who faced 163 balls, added a staggering 242 runs for the third wicket with another former captain George Bailey (112) as the home team knocked off the runs with four balls to spare. While it was another heartbreaking end to a Rohit century that ended in a losing cause (his T20 hundred and ODI hundred against SA were scored in defeats), Australian skipper Smith again turned out to be India’s nemesis pacing his innings to perfection. Smith’s sequence of scores against the ‘Men In Blue’ across formats reads: 162 not out, 52 not out, 133, 28, 192, 14, 117, 71, 47, 105. It also turned out to be the highest successful run-chase at the WACA and the third highest in an ODI in Australia. The Indian bowling attack looked completely out of depth as the Smith-Bailey duo never did anything extraordinary but still managed to hammer Umesh Yadav and co with monotonic regularity.
For India, debutant Barinder Sran (3/56) managed to create an impression with early breakthroughs but the other bowlers failed to join the party. Especially disappointing were India’s spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin (2/68 in 9 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (0/61 in 9 overs) looked far from penetrative. They could hardly extract any turn and were played with consummate ease by the Aussie captain, whose footwork was exemplary. Smith hit 11 fours and 2 sixes en route his fifth ODI ton while Bailey’s third hundred had seven fours and two sixes.