Australia took control on their way to a 34-run win in the opening one-day clash against India at the SCG.
After making their way to 288 runs, the Aussies took the visiting side apart with the white ball in hand.
A batting masterclass from Indian opener Rohit Sharma couldn’t save the tourists as the Aussie quicks proved too strong.
Here are the talking points from the opening ODI in Sydney.
CRICKET GREATS SLAM MAXWELL SNUB
He’s one of the most innovative batsmen in one-day cricket and he’s supposed to be making as many runs as possible, but Glenn Maxwell only faced five-balls in the Australian innings.
After the team was announced, it had the enigmatic Victorian listed at number seven in the batting order. A sighting many pundits couldn’t quite believe.
But then things took an even uglier turn as the Australian batting attack fell apart early and then slowly set about putting runs on the board.
As the scoreboard gradually ticked over, fans and commentators were calling for a shake up to the batting order and for Maxwell to be elevated to get the ball rolling.
But as the wickets fell, the order didn’t change and Maxwell sat in the sheds eagerly awaiting his chance to bat. A fact that got heavily under the skin of many cricket legends.
“Maxwell should have faced more than five balls in a one-day international. He’s so dangerous,” Shane Warne told Fox Cricket.
But Warne wasn’t done there as he took aim at the lacklustre display being put forth by the Australian batsmen.
“The curious thing for me is there’s no real intent to go after a bowler,” Warne said.
“They’re happy to just try hit gaps for ones and twos. You don’t mind if they miss it and try to score, it looks to me they’re happy with ones or twos.
Of course the outrage from the masses was specifically reserved for the misuse of one of the nation’s best one-day batsmen.
“You have to see that it’s an opportunity missed by Australia to get Maxwell in,” Allan Border said.
“It’ll be the area that changed the score from around 270-280 to that 300+ score.
“A little bit disappointing with wickets in hand that could’ve pushed the score past 300.”
Fox Commentators Mark Waugh and Michael Vaughan also couldn’t believe the order hadn’t been shifted to elevate Maxwell higher up.
“I don’t know about this batting order. I’d really like to see Glenn Maxwell in. He’s still sitting in the shed,” Mark Waugh said.
“He has got the game to be able to strike it well over 100, plays spin nicely,” Vaughan said.
“He’s a class player, he really is. He’s got a gift to be able to play the game.”
ROOF PANEL FEARS STRIKE SCG
If you turned your TV on to the cricket midway through the Australian innings, the crowd may have looked pretty empty in parts.
Thankfully it wasn’t because fans couldn’t be bothered showing up for the game in the Sydney heat, it was because of safety reasons.
Fans sitting in a section of the Churchill Brewongle stand were relocated after a roof panel above the bays threatened to dislodge.
Nobody was hurt as the issue was picked up long before anything bad took place with experts moving in to assess the damage.
FINCH’S HORROR SUMMER
Aaron Finch’s miserable summer continued when he was bowled for six.
The opening batsman was dropped from the Test team after a lean run with the bat and his poor form continued in the coloured clothing.
The captain was stuck on the crease and had his stumps disturbed when a ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar nipped back off the seam.
Finch’s returns from all international outings in T20s, ODIs and Tests this summer make for grim reading.
ELECTRIC SHARMA IGNITES CROWD
Indian opener Rohit Sharma stood tall while the remaining top order wilted under the blowtorch of the Australian attack.
Along with MS Dhoni, Sharma set about rebuilding the innings and piling on as many runs as he possibly could.
As the overs ticked over so did the runs and he continued to punish the bowlers as he eventually raised his bat to bring up his century.
His remarkable innings saw him register 133 runs from only 129 deliveries, a total that is now the highest score batting second in an ODI. Surpassing Adam Gilchrist’s 131 from 1999.
Making his efforts all the more impressive is that Sharma managed to outscore every other Indian batsmen combined and saw him move past Viv Richards as he scored his fourth ODI century on Australian soil.
AUSSIES BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL
Despite the win, there are grave fears surrounding the Australian batting attack with Brad Haddin laying his doubts clear.
“I think it’s our style of play, to be honest. The game’s moved forward since the 2015 World Cup and I don’t think we’ve quite moved that way with the trends of the game, so from our point of view it’s making sure that we get our style right — you’ve got to score 300 plus to be competitive,” Haddin told Fox Sports.
The numbers back up Haddin’s fears which show Australia registered over 300 in only three of 13 matches one-day matches in 2018.
Haddin believes the Aussies need to loosen up and take the game of if they’re to challenge for the World Cup crown in May.
“I think we’ve just played like we’re a bit scared,” Haddin said.
“But we know in one-day cricket you’ve got to make sure that you’re playing brave and moving the game forward.”
Fox Cricket commentator Shane Warne believed the issue is they’re playing with a wait-and-see approach to contests rather than going in with a set plan.
“They’ve decided to go with the cautious approach and just see how that looks,” Warne said in commentary for Fox Sports.
“Obviously a lot depends on Aaron Finch at the top of the order. He’s such a powerful player, he got the most runs in the calendar year last year for Australia, so they need him to fire. But if he doesn’t fire, you look at (Usman) Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, (Peter) Handscomb there’s not much firepower after that.
“And as Aaron Finch said to me at the toss, ‘we want to have wickets in hand through the middle overs. We’ve struggled against the spinners and then have wickets in-hand and excel and bash it at the end.’
“Is that the style that’s going to win you a World Cup?”
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