Finch, Warner added 231 runs for the first wicket    AFP
Finch, Warner added 231 runs for the first wicket AFP

Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami would consider themselves unlucky for being part of an XI that was expected to emulate what Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been, especially on a featherbed for batsmen. The new ball did move, but it posed no trouble to the Australian openers as David Warner and Aaron Finch brought up the 100-run stand in 98 deliveries.

Akshar Patel, who replaced Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, had no respite, either. Bowling over the wicket, he provided the arc Warner usually feasts on. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal had his moments, but Warner obliterated him when the ball was pitched under his nose. It is easy to visualise Warner getting on his knees and swatting it over deep mid-wicket.

Centurion in the last match, Finch played second fiddle. He was happy inhibiting himself from launching onslaughts and instead gave the most strike to Warner. That anyway was what the situation demanded, and Australia made sure they do not squander like they did in the previous contests. Keep wickets in hand, and the scorecard will read good.

It was also a day of milestones. Warner became the first Australians and eighth overall to score a hundred in his 100th ODI. This was his 14th hundred and first on Indian soil. After he reached the three-figure mark, he unleashed his beast mode but could add only 24 runs. With his strike bowlers providing no impetus, Virat Kohli asked Kedar Jadhav, often known as the man with golden arm these days, to make inroads. India drew first blood in the 35th over, at 231. Better late than never.

Finch, a six away from his consecutive hundred, holed out to mid-on. After going for plenty, Umesh finally heaved a sigh. That was not it. Steven Smith soon joined his openers back in the pavilion, becoming Umesh’s 100th ODI scalp. And thus began Australia’s challenge: rise in death overs.

With the help of Travid Head and Peter Handscomb’s 66-run stand, Australia went past 300. Adding more to the late blitz, Marcus Stoinis scored two boundaries and took Australia to 334 for 5. They added as many as 86 runs in the death overs, losing only 2 wickets.

Australia 334 for 5 (Aaron Finch 94, David Warner 124; Umesh Yadav 4 for 71) vs India

Brief scorecard