Australia got off to a terrific start with the bat as openers David Warner (56 off 34) and Mitchell Marsh (96 off 84) added 78 for the first wicket. After Warner perished in his endeavor to scoop Prasidh Krishna, Marsh found another able ally in Steve Smith (74 off 61) as the duo added 137 runs for the second wicket. Both batters looked in complete control of proceedings.
Marsh fell four short of a well-deserved Century, when he half-heartedly chipped Kuldeep Yadav to cover-point. Smith was the next to go, trapped lbw by Mohammed Siraj as he missed his flick. India made an impressive comeback following the dismissals of Australia’s set batters. Jasprit Bumrah had Alex Carey caught at cover for 11 and bowled Maxwell (5) with a yorker. Cameron Green (9) then holed out against Kuldeep.
Marnus Labuschagne, however, ensured Australia crossed the 350-run mark. He hit nine fours in his 72 off 58 balls to provide the finishing touches to the innings. Skipper Pat Cummins also chipped in with 19 not out off 22.
In the chase, skipper Rohit got India off to a confident start. He was the dominant partner in the opening stand of 74 with Washington Sundar (18 off 30). The stand was broken when Sundar holed out to long-off, trying to go after Maxwell. Rohit and Virat Kohli then added 70 for the second wicket to keep India in the hunt.
Maxwell, however, put Australia firmly on top, getting the scalps of both the big names. He took an outstanding return catch to end Rohit’s resistance. Kohli got stuck and top-edged a pull off a quicker delivery, trying to break the shackles. KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer added 52 for the fourth wicket to steady India. The stand was broken by Mitchell Starc as Rahul (26 off 30) skied a slower ball.
Suryakumar Yadav’s magic did not work this time. He was dismissed for 8, miscuing a pull off Josh Hazlewood to midwicket. India’s faint hopes ended when Maxwell had his fourth, cleaning up Shreyas for 48 off 43 balls. Only the formalities remained after that.
--By A Cricket Correspondent