India Beat Australia By 5 Wickets

Mumbai: India defeated Australia by five wickets in the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to go 1-0 up in the three-match series. After choosing to bowl first, the hosts first bowled out Australia for 188 before chasing down the total in 39.5 overs. While Australia had the upper hand on a few occasions in the game, India held sway of the big moments to ensure a five-wicket win in the first ODI.

A brilliant new-ball spell from Australia saw India’s chase going off the track initially. They lost three wickets within the first five overs. Ishan Kishan (3) fell to a Marcus Stoinis in-swinger in the second over, while Virat Kohli (4) and Suryakumar Yadav (0) were trapped leg-before by Mitchell Starc in the fifth. Starc later snared Shubman Gill (20) to leave India tottering at 39/4. KL Rahul (75*) pulled India out of dire straits, and stitched two important partnerships with Hardik Pandya (25) and Ravindra Jadeja (45*). His unbeaten 108-run stand with Jadeja, helped India cross the line with 61 balls to spare.

Earlier in the day, India’s stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya put Australia in after winning the toss. Mohammed Siraj struck with the ball in the second over, uprooting opener Travis Head’s leg stump. Hereafter, Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh stabilized Australia’s innings, while maintaining the run flow. The duo added 72 runs from 63 balls before Smith was caught behind off Pandya’s bowling. Marsh, however, kept going on a good batting wicket. He took on pacers and spinners alike, hitting 10 fours and five sixes. At one stage, Australia looked well set for a big total, but Marsh’s dismissal in the 20th over helped India make a comeback.

The game was still evenly balanced at the halfway stage, with the tourists sitting at 151/4, but a returning Mohammad Shami (3/17) bowled a scintillating three-wicket spell to rip through Australia’s middle-order.  Mohammad Siraj (3/29) then brushed off the tail to restrict the opposition to 188. The second ODI of the series will be played at Visakhapatnam on 19 March.

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