Sydney: Hardik Pandya's career-best effort wasn't good enough to compensate for a forgettable bowling effort as India slumped to a 66-run defeat against Australia in the first ODI, making a rather unimpressive start to the tour, here on Friday.
Virat Kohli's men started exactly on a note they wouldn't have liked, giving away 374 runs in 50 overs with rival captain Aaron Finch (114 off 124 balls) and his illustrious predecessor Steve Smith (105 off 66 balls) hitting contrasting hundreds.
A pitch that looked docile during the first half suddenly came to life in the second as Josh Hazlewood (3/55) bounced out the Indian top-order, including Kohli and a frightened Shreyas Iyer, who got himself into a tangle.
Pandya's 76-ball 90 and a 128-run stand with senior opener Shikhar Dhawan (74 off 86 balls) delayed the inevitable but it was always a catch-up game after the team was reduced to 101 for 4 inside 14 overs.
India badly missed a sixth bowling option with none of their specialist batters good enough to roll their arms for even two to three overs.
It was a day when the bowling unit barring Mohammed Shami (3/59 in 10 overs) flopped badly and poor fielding only added to their woes.
India's eternal nemesis Smith seems ready to torment them a lot in next two months if his 11 fours and four sixes were any indication on Friday.
Not for once was he troubled by the Indian bowlers, who were already under the pump after a 156-run opening stand between Finch and David Warner (69).
A lot of credit should go to Warner and Finch for the manner in which they attacked Chahal.
While Finch used his feet to smother the spin and play against the turn, Warner stayed back in the crease to hit Chahal with the turn, disturbing his line and length completely.
It helped as Smith and Maxwell (45 off 19 balls) had no problems in flaying the bowlers during the last 10 overs.
A high percentage of dot balls (148) in the Indian innings also showed how only one team dominated the proceedings. – PTI