Mumbai, Jan 14: Shikhar Dhawan hit a half-century before Australia pulled things back to bowl India out for 255 in the first ODI of the three-match series here on Tuesday.
Dhawan looked in great touch during his 91-ball 74 and, in the company of K L Rahul (47), shared a second-wicket stand of 121 runs off 136 balls to set the base for India's total. However, India failed to capitalise.
Sent into bat, India were dealt an early blow when they lost Rohit Sharma (10), caught by David Warner at mid-off off Mitchell Starc (3/56).
Rahul joined Dhawan at the crease and the duo played fluently without much trouble against a formidable Australian attack.
After adopting a cautious approach initially, Dhawan upped his ante and started to play his shots, while at the same time gave due respect to the good deliveries.
Dhawan showed his class and played all kinds of shots to register his fifty in 66 balls with a single off leg-spinner Adam Zampa (1/53) in the 20th over.
Soon after reaching his fifty, Dhawan got a reprieve when he was dropped by Warner at midwicket off Ashton Agar (1/56).
The two went about their business in style, picking up runs off bad balls before both departed in consecutive overs.
Just three short of his fifty, Rahul gave a straight forward catch to Steve Smith at covers off Agar and then, in the next over, Dhawan was caught by Agar off Pat Cummins (2/44).
While Rahul hit four boundaries during his 61-ball knock, Dhawan's innings was laced with nine fours and one six.
Dropping himself to No. 4 to accommodate both Dhawan and Rahul in the side, Virat Kohli (16) was in attacking mode from the onset, but didn't last long as Zampa took a sharp catch off his own bowling to dismiss the Indian skipper.
Shreyas Iyer followed suit when Starc induced an edge an over later and Alex Carey did the rest behind the stumps.
Rishabh Pant (28) and Ravindra Jadeja (25) shared 49 runs for the sixth wicket before the duo perished in consecutive overs as India lost the plot.
Towards the end Kuldeep Yadav (17) and Mohammed Shami (10) struck some useful boundaries.
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Rajkot, Jan 17: Shikhar Dhawan missed a well-deserved ton by a whisker but laid a solid platform for the aggressive duo of skipper Virat Kohli and KL Rahul to ensure a commanding total of 340 for 6 against Australia in the second ODI here on Friday.
Back in form since the last T20 encounter against Sri Lanka, the senior opener looked solid in his 90-ball-96 while Kohli, back at his familiar one drop position, held the middle-order with a 78 off 76 balls and Rahul (80 off 52 balls) provided the final flourish in what was much improved batting performance from the hosts.
While Dhawan added 81 for the opening stand with Rohit Sharma (42) who would regret this missed opportunity on a batting belter after getting set, the southpaw also had a vital 103-run stand with Kohli for the second wicket.
The Kohli-Rahul duo's 78-run partnership off 10.3 overs was also pivotal as it helped the latter to launch a final assault during the end overs.
While Dhawan's innings had 13 fours and a six, Kohli had six hits to the fence including a classic jab-flick off Pat Cummins (0/53 in 10 overs). Rahul's was a stand-out innings with six boundaries and three -maximums, one of which was a lofted cover drive off Mitchell Starc (0/78 in 10 overs), who had a forgettable day.
Adam Zampa (3/50 in 10 overs) was once again the stand-out performer taking Kohli out of equation for the seventh time in limited overs just when he was looking to get his 44th ODI ton.
At the start, Dhawan began with a bowler's bck-drive, giving a glimpse of what was in store. The southpaw completed his sixth fifty versus Australia in 60 balls as he played shots all around the ground.
The last time Dhawan scored successive fifties was in January 2019 against New Zealand. This was his 29th in 50-over cricket.
The left-hander was particularly harsh on left-arm spinner Ashton Agar (0-63 in 8 overs), whom he hammered for two successive fours in the 25th, a sweep and a reverse-sweep, and then in 27th over stuck a four and a six, not allowing him to settle down.
In fact the 77 runs from 10 overs bowled by fifth and sixth bowling option Marnus Labuschagne (0/14 in 2 overs) was the difference from the last game.
However, Dhawan missed out on his 18th ODI hundred by four runs when he pulled a Kane Richardson ball straight to fine leg in 29th over.
Shreyas Iyer (7) fell cheaply. But Kohli was in sublime touch as he ran the singles and doubles with intensity and also it the loose balls for boundary.