Australia took 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series after pulling off a 66-run win over India in the first ODI against Virat Kohli-led India. Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan stitched a 128-run partnership for the fifth-wicket but in the end, it was not enough for India to chase down the mammoth 375-run total set up by Australia. Pandya smashed 90 runs in 76 balls, while Dhawan scored 74 runs in 86 balls but both the batsmen were dismissed in quick succession by leg-spinner Adam Zampa which crushed India's hopes.
India got off to a fine start in the chase with Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal adding 53 runs for the first wicket. But Mayank suffered a soft dismissal at the hands of seamer Josh Hazlewood and he had to walk back for 22. Skipper Virat Kohli got a lifeline as he was dropped by Zampa, but Hazlewood got rid of the India captain and Shreyas Iyer in the same over, as India slipped to 80/3 in 9.5 overs.
KL Rahul's dismissal at the hands of Adam Zampa in the 14th over gave an indication that the match could get over soon, but Pandya and Dhawan set fireworks going in Sydney to bring the visitors back into the match. Zampa again broke the partnership and later dismissed Ravindra Jadeja cheaply as well, thus, ending India's hopes. India posted 308/8 in 50 overs, losing the match by 66 runs.
Earlier, after winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia captain Aaron Finch and his Steve Smith struck confident yet contrasting hundreds on a flat track to lead hosts Australia to a commanding 374 for 6.
On a sluggish pitch with occasional spongy bounce on offer, Finch shrugged off his poor IPL form to raise his 17th ODI century after electing to bat in the series-opener. Delivering on his pre-match warning that he has "found his hands", Smith hammered the Indian bowlers to raise his 10th ODI hundred, which was third fastest for an Australian as it came off 62 balls.
Finch's 114-run innings, that came off 124 balls, had nine fours and two sixes while Smith took 66 balls for his 105-run knock, embellished with 11 fours and four sixes.
India skipper Virat Kohli did not hide his frustrations after the loss. "We got enough time to prepare, I don't think there are any excuses on the field when you don't pull up as a side. Probably the first long game we've played in a while, we've been playing T20 cricket. But having said that, we've all played a lot of ODI cricket. The body language after 25-26 overs was disappointing," said a frustrated Virat.
Man of the match Steve Smith was really satisfied with his own and team's batting display. He said he was actually finding it hard to hit right a few months ago, but it was all perfect today.
"I've been searching for something for a couple of months now, unfortunately, haven't been able to find it. But a couple of days ago I started to hit the ball where I wanted it, and everything came back, the rhythm came back," said Smith.
Australia 374/6 (50 Overs) (Aaron Finch 114, Steve Smith 105, Glenn Maxwell 45, Mohammad Shami 59/3)
India (Target 375) 308/8 (50 Overs) (Hardik Pandya 90, Shikhar Dhawan 74, Adam Zampa 54/4, Josh Hazlewood 55/3)
Result- Australia won by 66 runs.
Man of the match - Steve Smith