Australia have struck the first blow in the summer of cricket against India, sealing the one-day international series on Sunday night with a game to spare.
But the 51-run win has been soured by concerns about David Warner’s immediate future after the superstar batsman was taken to hospital for scans on a groin injury.
Warner had earlier struck 83 runs as Australia’s top order dominated the Indian attack, reaching 4-389 to set Australia’s highest ODI score at the SCG.
Steve Smith (105) continued his charge with another century, while Aaron Finch (60), Marnus Labuschagne (70) and Glenn Maxwell (63) were all in the runs.
“I think it’s just something about the conditions and what’s in front of you,” Smith said of Australia’s aggressive first innings.
“The last two games the boys have got us off to a terrific start. India have a quality batting line-up so we know we need big scores. The last couple of games it’s come off.”
India threatened to pull off a massive chase but early runs made way for wickets at consistent intervals, with Virat Kohli’s departure on 89 in the 35th over turning the tide.
KL Rahul (76) provided some fireworks before the tourists threw it away and finished on 9-338 after 50 overs.
“(We were) completely outplayed,” Kohli said.
“I think with the ball we were not that effective. We just didn’t hit the areas we wanted to consistently.
“They’ve got a pretty strong batting line-up … we got 340 eventually and still short by 50. The chase is always a bit too steep.”
India will attempt to redeem themselves and avoid a clean sweep when the ODI series concludes with a dead rubber in Canberra on Wednesday.
Kohli said Australia’s partnership-breaking catches were “the defining moments” of Sunday’s clash.
Australia’s successful defence featured two spectacular catches from Smith and Moises Henriques in his first ODI since June 2017.
Smith’s effort to dismiss Shreyas Iyer brought a 93-run stand to an end while a 72-run partnership was ended when Henriques’ catch sent Kohli packing.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia is awaiting the results of Warner’s groin scans after he was rushed off to hospital on Sunday evening.
The 34-year-old was stationed at mid-off when he tweaked an adductor muscle while diving for a ball in the fourth over of India’s chase.
Any strain – or tear – will leave Warner in serious doubt for the four-Test series beginning on December 17.
Australia will also have concerns surrounding Mitchell Starc’s form after the left-arm paceman went wicketless and conceded 82 runs off his nine overs.
He had Hardik Pandya caught off a no ball to start the 46th over and conceded two sixes in the subsequent three balls.
– with AAP