Gillette ODI Series v India
New-look Australia beat India by 34 runs
Improved middle-order effort and inspired new-ball spell proves too much for India
Sam Ferris at the SCG
12 January 2019, 11:15 PM AEST
Sporting the glorious retro uniforms of the summer of 1985-86, Australia put in a vintage performance to defeat India by 34 runs in the Gillette ODI Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
While the hosts paid tribute to the past with their attire it was the fresh faces in the XI that set up the gritty win in front of a packed, pro-India crowd, who left disappointed but content having witnessed a Rohit Sharma special.
Recalled batsmen Peter Handscomb (73 from 61 balls) and Usman Khawaja (59 from 81) top-scored for the hosts in their total of 5-288 before youngster Jhye Richardson (4-26) and debutant Jason Behrendorff (2-39) ripped apart India's top order.
Behrendorff couldn't have asked for a better start to his ODI career, trapping explosive opener Shikhar Dhawan for a golden duck to complete a wicket maiden to start the second innings.
Richardson backed up his Western Australia teammate with the huge wicket of India captain Virat Kohli for just three and two balls later removed No.4 Ambati Rayudu for naught to reduce India to 3-4.
But a brilliant rear-guard partnership of 137 between Rohit (133) and MS Dhoni (51) put India's run chase back on course.
The match had swung back to parity in the 33rd over when skipper Aaron Finch called upon Behrendorff and his bowler produced the goods, trapping Dhoni lbw with a ball that pitched outside leg, but alas India's review had been burnt.
Rohit powered his way to his 22nd ODI century, hitting 10 fours and six sixes, but as the asking rate climbed beyond 10 runs per over in closing stages and his time spent on field approached seven hours, the batsman's fatigue became visible.
As wickets fell around him, Rohit took the long handle, hitting sixes one-handed into the Members' Stand, but the equation was too great for the master ODI opener who fell in the 46th over.
Richardson was superb with old ball and new, taking wickets at both ends of the innings to claim his best ODI figures and seal just the fourth win in Australia's past 22 completed ODIs.
It means Australia head to Adelaide with the series lead and a much-needed confidence boost having lost the Test series against Kohli's charges.
Earlier, Finch won the toss and elected to bat under brilliant sunshine that was sorely missed across the final two days of the fourth Domain Test about a week ago.
Finch lasted just 11 balls before he became Bhuvneshwar Kumar's 100th ODI wicket, bowled through the gate to extend a lean run with the bat in all formats this summer.
Alex Carey looked solid in his maiden innings opening the batting with a polished 24 and five boundaries before he committed the cardinal sin of cutting a spinner and was out to left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
The middle overs have been identified by the Australians as their weakest area during their poor run in the 50-over format, but today they performed strongly in the guts of the innings.
Khawaja, Handscomb and Shaun Marsh (54) each scored half-centuries, rotated the strike and plucked the odd boundary as the scoreboard ticked over.
Khawaja and Marsh fell to spin just as they looked to shift up the gears, but Handscomb motored past 50 with expansive stroke play over the off-side.
Marcus Stoinis, clearly reveling in the 80s gear with his shirt unbuttoned as low as possible, took his time before unleashing a few lusty blows into the spectators.
One aspect of the batting innings Australia will undoubtedly review is the use of Glenn Maxwell, the hard-hitting allrounder who was in the sheds until the 48th over and faced just five balls batting at No.7.
In reply, India were blown away by Behrendorff and Richardson with the new ball.
The big wicket, as it always is against India, was Kohli, who creamed Richardson to Stoinis at square-leg, shocked and deflated to see his perfectly-timed shot go straight into the hands of an Australian fielder.
But when Rohit and Dhoni were at the crease, the chase looked in control.
Dhoni clicked over 10,000 runs for India in ODI cricket – the fifth player to do so – and given he averages close to 100 in the second innings when India win, his wicket was the just as valuable as Kohli's.
So when Behrendorff trapped Dhoni – whose 332 caps was equal to the entire Australia XI combined – the match swung back in favour of the hosts.
Rohit was all that stood in the way of the Australians and while he was at the crease, even with 109 needed off the final 10 overs, the game was still in the balance.
But the bowlers held their nerve, Rohit was out exhausted and the Aussies got to celebrate like it was 1985-86.
Well, maybe not that hard.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Jason Behrendorff.
India XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, Dinsh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed.
Gillette ODI Series v India
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa
India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
First ODI: Australia won by 34 runs
Second ODI: January 15, Adelaide Oval (D/N)
Third ODI: January 18, MCG (D/N)