Mumbai: An unbeaten 141-run partnership between MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav sealed a six-wicket win for India in the first ODI against Australia.
Chasing 237, and with captain Virat Kohli, and opener Rohit Sharma both set and having made up fully for the loss of Shikhar Dhawan from the first ball of the reply, India looked like they would walk the first ODI. Instead, a slide of 3/19, from 80/1 to 99/4, brought Australia back into the contest.
Kohli’s wicket started the slump, as Adam Zampa had him LBW on review, before Sharma skied a leading edge to mid-off. Ambati Rayudu came and went for 13, nicking behind off Zampa, and India were in trouble.
Dhoni and Jadhav rode their luck at first. The former’s first boundary came off a top edge, and they played and missed, edged, and were almost caught on several occasions. In between however there were some sumptuous strokes, particularly from Jadhav, and the pair soon grew into their innings.
They key moment came in the 38th over. Dhoni, having hit Nathan Coulter-Nile for his first six over midwicket, went for another big shot the next ball, only for Marcus Stoinis to claim a catch. The umpire sent it upstairs with the soft signal ‘not out’, the TV umpire agreed, and Dhoni edged the next ball for four, the required rate having been reduced to less than a run a ball.
Thereafter, the pair proceeded serenely to the target, with Jadhav facing the majority of the balls and scoring the majority of the runs. He finished unbeaten on 81, while Dhoni sealed the game with two fours in two balls to end on 59*.
Earlier, Australia had scrapped their way up to 236/7 in a back-and-forth first innings. India struck the first blow, Jasprit Bumrah enticing Aaron Finch to edge the game’s ninth ball behind to leave the tourists 0/1 in the second over.
Opener Usman Khawaja and No.3 Stoinis helped their side repair, albeit slowly. After 20 overs, Australia were 87/1, scoring at just over four runs an over. A ball later, they were 87/2. Stoinis saw a half-tracker from Jadhav as an opportunity to strike a rare boundary, only to pick out Kohli at short midwicket.
Khawaja brought up fifty but could go no further, again falling to a catch in the leg-side, this time an excellent grab from Vijay Shankar off Kuldeep Yadav, who then claimed his second as Peter Handscomb came down the track, was beaten on the inside edge, and stumped.
Mohammed Shami was the next to get in on the wickets, bowling Ashton Turner, who made a sprightly 21, off the inside edge before clean-bowling Glenn Maxwell with a nip-backer.
Coulter-Nile and Carey did their best to stretch Australia’s total, adding 62 for the seventh wicket, but found fast scoring hard to come by. The former went just over and the latter just under a run a ball, and neither was able to clear the ropes. Attempting to do so from the innings’ penultimate ball saw Kohli claim another catch, this time at long on off Bumrah, as Australia finished on 236/7. It was never likely to stretch an India side full of batting muscle.
The hosts lead the five-match series 1-0, with the second ODI set for 5 March.