India’s young opening pair ensured a comfortable five-wicket victory over Australia, backed by a stellar performance from pacer Mohammed Shami, who claimed five wickets to restrict the visitors to 276 runs in the first one-day international held in Mohali on Friday.
Opting to field first after winning the toss, stand-in captain KL Rahul’s decision set the tone for India’s performance. His astute leadership was complemented by a stellar partnership with the highly-regarded Suryakumar Yadav, who contributed a crucial half-century to the team’s cause. This dynamic duo’s remarkable 80-run stand was instrumental in stabilizing India’s innings, which had stumbled after the loss of openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shubman Gill, who had earlier put together an impressive 142-run opening partnership.
Facing a diverse Australian bowling attack led by skipper Pat Cummins, the Indian openers showed remarkable composure. However, Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa managed to dismiss both openers, concluding his spell with figures of 2-57. Following Gaikwad’s departure, India faced additional setbacks, losing Shreyas Iyer, Gill, and Ishan Kishan. At this point, the scorecard read 185-4.
Just when it seemed that victory was within India’s grasp, Suryakumar Yadav fell to Sean Abbott with only 12 runs needed to secure the win. His attempt to finish the match in style added an element of late drama to the contest. Nevertheless, India managed to cross the finishing line, sealing a five-wicket victory.
Earlier in the match, Shami set the tone for India by removing the dangerous Mitchell Marsh in the very first over. Opener David Warner and veteran Steven Smith then steadied the Australian innings with a 94-run partnership before Warner succumbed to the left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja. Smith also fell soon after, leaving the visitors struggling at 112-3. India’s experienced off-spinner R Ashwin further dented Australia’s progress by dismissing the well-set Marnus Labuschagne (39).
A brief interruption due to a passing shower caused a slight delay in play. However, a pivotal partnership between Josh Inglis (45) and Marcus Stoinis (29) began to wrest control from the hosts. Shami, however, returned to the attack and accounted for Stoinis, Matthew Short, and Sean Abbott, ultimately finishing with impressive figures of 5-51. Pat Cummins remained unbeaten with a quick 21 runs, but Australia could only set a below-par target.