REUTERS – Captain Steve Smith and George Bailey struck fluent centuries as Australia chased down a steep 310-run target to win the first one-day international against India by five wickets in Perth on Tuesday.
Smith fell for his highest ODI score of 149 with Australia two runs short of victory and the right-hander left the ground shaking his head before watching his team seal victory with four balls to spare.
Opener Rohit Sharma smashed an unbeaten 171 to lift India to 309 for three after the touring side won the toss and chose to bat first in sublime batting conditions at the WACA ground.
India lost Shikhar Dhawan (nine) early but Rohit, the only cricketer with two double centuries in this format, and test captain Virat Kohli (91) laid the platform for a late flourish with a 207-run stand for the second wicket.
India left-arm paceman Barinder Sran (3-56) gave his side a dream start on his debut by dismissing hard-hitting openers Aaron Finch (eight) and David Warner (five) in successive overs to reduce Australia to 21 for two.
But Bailey (112) scored his third ODI hundred and added 242 for the third wicket with his skipper to take the match away from India.
Bailey was lucky to survive an appeal for caught behind on the first ball he faced with television replays confirming Bran’s delivery brushing his glove on the way through to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
India also missed several opportunities to run the right-hander out when their throws failed to hit the stumps.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin sent back Bailey and Glenn Maxwell (six) in successive overs to give India hope but it was too little, too late.
The 28-year-old Rohit, whose 264 against Sri Lanka in 2014 remains the highest individual score in the 50-over format, hit 13 fours and seven sixes.
Rohit’s 163-ball knock was the highest score by a visiting batsman against Australia, overtaking West Indies great Viv Richards’s unbeaten 153 in 1979 in Melbourne.
Kohli fell in unselfish manner trying to score quickly for his team and was out caught close to the boundary rope by Aaron Finch off paceman James Faulkner, who finished with figures of 2-60 in his 10 overs.
Paceman Scott Boland made a forgettable debut for Australia as he gave away 74 runs in his 10 overs while the other debutant Joel Paris also went wicketless, conceding 53 in his eight.
Brisbane will host the second match of the five-game series on Friday.
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Ed Osmond)