Mohammed Shami’s heroics with the ball, Shubman Gill-Ruturaj Gaikwad’s solid opening stand helped India outplay Australia by five wickets in the first ODI at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali on Friday. In reply to Australia’s 276 runs, the Indian openers Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad started well as both slammed half-centuries and took India to 142 in no time. But then Australia made a comeback by taking quick wickets in the middle. But skipper KL Rahul alongside Suryakumar Yadav had other plans as both batters ended up scoring their half-centuries and also built 80-run stand, doing the finishing duties for the Men in Blue.
Earlier, after being invited to bat first, the Aussies had a torrid start as they lost Mitchell Marsh after Shami snared him. He could not decode the brilliant out-swinger from the pacer and was forced to edge the ball with his willow as Shubman Gill grabbed an easy catch in the slip. Senior batters David Warner and Steve Smith revived the Australian innings by putting up a 94-run stand for the second wicket to keep their side’s innings back on track. Warner ended up smashing his 29th ODI half-century.
Seeing both batter’s crucial stand, skipper Rahul called Shami to bowl yet another spell and the Bengal-based pacer did not disappoint his captain, picking up a prized wicket off Steve Smith in the 22nd over. The ball came in sharply towards Smith and went on to hit the stumps. Smith walked back after scoring 41 runs in his comeback game against India.
Another wicket-taker was comeback man Ravichandran Ashwin who returned to the ODI side after a huge gap of 20 months and went on to pick up the crucial wicket of in-form Marnus Labuschagne. The wicket came in the fourth ball of the 33rd over as Labuschagne looking to play a reverse sweep but missed it completely and got out. Coming down the order, Inglis and Marcus Stonis formed a 62-run stand for the sixth wicket and helped Australia post 276 in 50 overs.