Rohit Sharma’s 22nd ODI century came in a losing cause as Australia beat India by 34 runs in the first one-day international in Sydney.
India sealed a maiden Test series win over Australia at the SCG on Monday but slipped 1-0 down in the three-match 50-over series at the same venue on Saturday after failing to top the hosts’ 288-5, despite Rohit’s magnificent 133 from 129 balls.
The opener and MS Dhoni (51) rallied India with a 137-run stand after they had slumped to 4-3 inside four overs with the former going on to complete his seventh ODI century against Australia from 110 deliveries, taking his career average against them in the format to 69.04.
Rohit was eventually dismissed by Marcus Stoinis looking for a seventh six and India ended on 254-9, with Jhye Richardson – who had India skipper Virat Kohli caught for just three early on – bagging a career-best 4-26.
Australia, whose total was underpinned by half-centuries from Peter Handscomb (73), Usman Khawaja (59) and Shaun Marsh (54), are now toasting just a fourth win in their last 22 completed ODIs.
India’s build-up to the game was marred by the news that Hardik Pandya and batsman KL Rahul had been sent home after making controversial comments about women on an India-based television show.
India may have missed Pandya’s lower-order batting but their attack was not too hampered by his absence, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar – who made Aaron Finch (6) his 100th ODI scalp – and Kuldeep Yadav bagging two wickets apiece and Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja bowling tightly.
Khawaja shared a 92-run stand with Marsh for the third wicket, while Handscomb put on 53 with Marsh for the fourth and 68 with Stoinis for the fifth.
Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell (11no off 5) then took their sixth-wicket salvo to an unbroken 34 after taking Bhuvneshwar’s final over for 18, with 93 runs coming from Australia’s final 10 in total.
Australia carried on that momentum into India’s innings, with Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu trapped lbw for ducks by Jason Behrendorffand and Richardson respectively and Kohli drilling Richardson to Stoinis at midwicket.
The Rohit-Dhoni stand dragged India back into the game but Rohit struggled for support once Dhoni was trapped in front by debutant Behrendorff (2-39) from a ball that was later shown to have pitched outside leg stump.
The sides now head to Adelaide for Tuesday’s second ODI before the series concludes in Melbourne next Sunday.