India v/s Australia ODI, Tri-series, Melbourne: Australia win with just six balls to spare

India had almost turned the game on its head, and Bhuvneshwar had played a huge part in it, until that poor, poor 49th over. Or maybe Australia were just holding it back for the end? Two close wins now for Australia. It really should have ended long ago.

Over 49

FOUR! THAT IS VICTORY FOR AUSTRALIA! What a terrible over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Slightly down leg side and Faulkner sweeps it past short fine leg! Four and Australia have won. Kumar has conceded 16 off the 49th over.

Biffed hard down the ground, only a single as it went quickly to the fielder. 3 needed off 7 balls.

Wide ball! 8 off nine. And the next ball is on middle and smashed for a boundary through covers. Kumar has bowled so well all day, but he has bowled a poor second last over.

Faulkner gives room, Kumar follows him. Thrashed into the off side, Dhawan misses a direct hit. They run a single. A direct hit and the batsman was gone.

Swung hard into the leg side, and four! Bad ball from Kumar, almost a half-tracker. Inexcusable at this stage. 10 needed off 10.

Almost a dot ball, Kumar misfields and they get 1. 14 off 11.

Kumar will bowl out here. He will bowl the crucial 49th over.

Over 48

Dot ball again! Just 5 off the over. Australia need 15 off 12. How did it come down to this?

Beautiful delivery, Faulkner played across and missed, huge appeal. Should have been out. He was caught in front, should have hit middle and leg.

Driven through covers! The pressure is off. Very good chase and stop. 17 off 16.

Dot ball. 20 off 17.

Over 47

And it ends as a maiden! 20 needed off 18 balls. A wicket maiden shared by Shami and Kumar, but it was Kumar who did most of the damage.

Dot ball. Every dot ball is being cheered. Why did Dhoni hide Kumar? 20 needed off 20. Now 20 off 19. No runs off the over so far.

OUT! Slower delivery is king today! Slow, short ball, Maxwell spoons a simple caught and bowled to Bhuvneshwar. Australia are tottering. 20 needed, 21 balls, 4 wickets in hand.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar will bowl in place of Shami, who’s gone off. First ball is a swing and a miss.

Shami to bowl his ninth. Still no sign of Bhuvneshwar. First ball is a yorker outside off and Maxwell misses. And now Shami has pulled up. It might be a hamstring. The physio is out. We’re gonna take a break.

Over 46

Maxwell goes in the air, doesn’t time it well, lands away from the fielder running out from cover. Two runs. Six off the over, 20 needed off 24 balls.

Axar Patel is coming in to bowl – a questionable tactic from Dhoni. Why not get Kumar in? Maxwell loves the spinners.

Over 45

End of the over, just one off it. Australia 242/5 off 45 overs; need 26 off 30.

Brilliant yorker! Right in the blockhole and Maxwell had to do everything he ever could to keep it out. Now a fast searing delivery into Maxwell and he defends awkwardly. Where was Yadav for the first 75% of the Australian innings?

Yadav continues, and Haddin wisely turns over the strike to Maxwell, who won’t look for an encore against Yadav.

Over 44

SIX! And just like that, Maxwell has decided the fun is over for India. A six into the stands and then a slogged boundary straight down the ground. 27 needed off 36. A cakewalk. But why are Kumar’s two overs left behind?

Australia were so far ahead in the game than even after losing three quick wickets they still have noses in front. 37 off 39 is no big deal, but the momentum has shifted to India. Now an appeal for caught behind, declined.

OUT! Bailey is out stumped! Australia, what are you doing? R Ashwin is ecstatic, and the Indians in the crowd, who constitute about 70% of it, can’t believe it. Australia 230/5.

Over 43

Short ball coming into the body, and the batsman flicks it over the slips. Third man comes running in and only a single is scored. Decent over from Umesh, just three of it. 39 needed from 42, but surely Australia are pretending.

Umesh Yadav is into his ninth over and has bowled two dot balls, but followed it up with a wide. Nevertheless, Australia seem to be trying to make it tough for themselves.

Komal is a hopeful fan, like millions of others:

Over 42

There comes the reverse sweep! But it fetches nothing for Maxwell. Three off an Ashwin over. Australia need 42 from 48 balls.

We are subjected to some inconsequential highlights of how Glenn Maxwell used the reverse sweep effectively against….hold your breath….Zimbabwe. Oh, and it’s Ashwin bowling. The Indians in the crowd are cheering dot balls like its 42 needed off 15 balls.

Over 41

Australia 223/4 after 41 overs; 45 needed off 54 balls.

Crazy short ball from Yadav, it came seaming in hard and Bailey took his eyes off. The ball hit Bailey’s bat which was hanging like a periscope, but did not go to hand. The fifth ball is short again, soars over Maxwel’s head and is called a wide.

OUT! Another one goes! Is there still life in this game? It is Finch now, on 96. He gets a tame outside edge which is safely pouched by Dhoni. Australia 219/4.

Umesh Yadav comes back and starts with a wide so far down leg it should have been called two wides.

Over 40

Smith got the ball high on the bat. Is the huddle a World Cup style statement? It’s back again and we are less than a month from the Cup. Australia 217/3 after 40 overs.

OUT! Slower delivery from Shami, Smith plays a strange-looking pull, and straight into the hands of short midwicket. Smith is gone for 47. Australia 216/3.

Shami fires in a fast, short ball and Finch misses with the pull. Now a yorker is dug in outside off and no run is scored.

Over 39

Seven off the over. Australia 215/2 after 39 overs. Just 53 needed off 66 balls, 8 wickets in hand.

Apart from Axar Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, all Indian bowlers have been very expensive. Oh, and Axar just got stroked through the off side for four. 55 needed off 70 balls.

Over 38

Now, Mohammad Shami is providing some false hope to Indian fans by giving away just two runs off the 38th over. 208/2.

Over 37

Six runs get milked off the over. Australia 206/2 off 37 overs.

The Indian team went into a huddle during the break. Good to watch bt may just be too late. Axar Patel comes back. Can he get three quick wickets?

Over 36

Smith gets a wide yorker which he digs out to third man. Finch is on 89. Smith is 38 off 39. The fourth Australian fifty has come in just 39 balls. Australia 200/2 after 36 overs, good over by the going standards from Shami.

And the barbs continue to come in:

Australia have decided to take the batting powerplay with only 71 runs needed. Shami is 0/37 off 5.1 overs. There is no way India are winning this match except for a miracle.

Over 34

Following the six, all Australia need is some milking. Which continues in the form of a run a ball. Just 77 needed off 96 balls now with 8 wickets in hand. Australia 191/2 after 34 overs.

India’s defences are collapsing fast. At least I could finish work early. Raina gives the ball plenty of air, half-volley right in the slot for Finch, who swings a six straight down the ground.

Over 33

Inexplicably, Umesh Yadav (1/34) has been brought back. He is now down to conceding a run a ball. Full on the legs, tickled away for four through fine leg. Australia 177/2 after 33 overs.

Over 32

He bowls a wide first up. And then he gets smacked for six over long on. Full swing of the arms, and Finch has now shaken off his bad form courtesy some mediocre Indian bowling. 10 runs off the over, Australia 170/2.

Not surprisingly, the team is earning flak on Twitter:

Time to try something different. Dhoni could have been reading out of a mundane cricket coaching manual. Suresh Raina is introduced.

Over 31

Five off the over. Australia 160/2 after 31 overs.

Dhoni is now standing up to the stumps as Kumar enters his eighth over. He’s been India’s best bowler and yet he’s already into his eighth.

Over 30

End of the over. Too expensive for India. 155/2 after 30 overs, Australia.

Four. Thick edge off a drive from Finch finds the boundary. Australia reach 150. Now another short ball, too wide, and cut away. Cannot fathom why Ashwin is bowling his 7th over on the trot. Clearly, he’s losing control.

Over 28

Ashwin continues his trundling spin, into his 6th over. Now he decieves Finch with spin but with no reward. Five runs off the over, Aus 139/2 after 28.

Over 27

Last ball of Shami’s over gets viciously swivel-pulled, but ends up at deep square leg. Just one. 134/2 off 27 overs.

Steve Smith welcomes Mohammad Shami into his next over with a beautiful straight drive for four.

Meanwhile, you can read what Ian Chappell feels about Australia’s World Cup prospects.

Over 26

Ashwin is now into his fifth over. This is the problem with Dhoni’s captaincy. His bowling changes are conventional and he does not fully appreciate the value of short spells. Australia 127/2 after 26 overs.

Over 25

Aaron Finch reaches his 6th ODI fifty, off 80 balls. It’s been hard work but it’s paid off. On drive off the last ball and a couple results. Australia are 124/2 at the halfway stage.

Mohammad Shami comes in to bowl, replacing Axar Patel and immediately gets milked for a couple.

Over 24

For the first time the Aussie run rate is below 5 an over. Four dot balls from Ashwin so far. Now a direct hit at the batsman’s end, but Finch is safe. Two off the over, Australia 117/2 off 24.

Over 23

Steve Smith comes in. He doesn’t have a great ODI record. Down the track of the last ball but can’t get it away. Australia 115/2 off 23 overs.

The idea of keeping Patel on has worked. Flipper from Axar, Watson went for an expansive sweep, missed and the ball hit home. Bowled. Australia 115/2.

Over 22

Two runs off the first four balls. Australia are not in top gear, but they continue to milk the Indian bowling. And now a boundary to deep cover. Finch advances down the track off the last ball and gets one. 112/1.

Ashwin continues after a fifth consecutve Axar over, which fetched 3 runs.

Over 20

Good over so far, 2 off 5 balls, and the fifth nearly resulted in a run out. Alright, so Ashwin makes amends for his first over by conceding 2 off the second. 102/1 after 20 overs. India were 89/3 at this stage.

R Ashwin, introduced into the attack in the 18th over, will bowl his second.

Over 19

Finch finally gets a run of the fifth ball, moving to 34 off 62 balls. It has been a struggle for Finch, but India’s mediocre bowling has ensured he at least stays at the crease. Australia 100/1 after 19 overs.

Axar Patel continues with his fourth over, and immediately beats Finch who went for a late cut.

Over 17

Ooh…Finch was nearly foxed in the flight. Next ball, he is foxed again and there’s an appeal which is turned down by the umpire. Australia 88/1 after 17 overs.

First two balls of Axar’s third over get milked for two, and he makes a big noise on the third though the batsman was in no danger. Now four balls for three.

Over 16

The commentators take time out to show us Wasim Akram’s 5/21 in Melbourne in 1985. He was very, very young, and sent Aussie stumps flying. Can’t expect the same from Yadav though. Aussies 85/1 after 16 overs.

Umesh Yadav will bowl despite his profligacy, and he will bowl two dot balls first up. The third ball though, just sits up for Watson to hit and he crashes it through point for four with the force of a bullet.

Over 15

Six runs off the fifteenth over which was bowled by Axar Patel. Australia 78/1.

Over 14

Take out Finch (26 off 47) and Australia have been on fire. I say this even as Watson cuts a short ball outside off to the third man boundary. Australia 72/1 after 14 overs.

Yadav doesn’t learn from his own performance. Follows up a maiden with a short, wide ball that Watson accepts with ease, and dispatches to the cover boundary.

Over 13

Two dot balls and then another short one, which fetches only one. Required run rate is five and a half. End of Patel’s first. 62/1 after 13 overs.

Axar Patel comes in to bowl and is promptly greeted with a boundary from Watson’s bat. That ball was short and there for the cut.

Over 12

Things have slowed down considerably after Warner’s dismissal. Just a single off the last over and now five dot balls. And now Finch has been beaten with the last ball. Australia 57/1 after 12 overs.

Over 10

Shane Watson is the new batsman in, and he lets his first ball go. But now he hits an unconvincing on drive which goes for four. Australia 56/1 after 10 overs.

OUT! Warner has fallen and he is a victim of his own aggression. Short, effort ball from Umesh Yadav, and Warner tried to pull it. Got big on him quickly, and he spooned a top edge to cover. Australia 51/1.

Over 8

Shami has already conceded nine off the over including a boundary. Make it 11. Australia motoring along at 49/0 after 8 overs.

Over 7

Kohli scores with a direct hit as David Warner tries to scramble back after trying a non existent single. The third umpire is called in but it’s not out. Australia 38/0 after 7 overs.

Over 6

Good over so far from Shami. Just 4 off it. Shami is hitting the early 140s in pace with consistency. No run off the last ball, Australia 34/0 after 6 overs.

After a good fifth over from Bhuvneshwar, Shami is back for his second.

Over 4

Another boundary. Short again, and Warner flicks it high into the leg side for four. Australia 29/0 after 4 overs.

First change already on for India. Mohammad Shami to bowl. And the first ball is short and outside leg stump, duly pulled away for four by Warner. The second is wide.

Over 3

Kumar tries to repair Aaron’s damage, concedes just 2 off the third over. Australia 20/0 after 3 overs.

Over 2

Now a wide, full ball and beautifully driven by Finch for four. Australia 18/0 after 2 overs.

Umesh Yadav is the new ball bowler along with Kumar, and he begins to leak runs. Fourth ball of the over flies away to third man for four, and the fifth is a wide.

Over 1

Australia 5/0 after 1 over.

The Australian openers have come out to bat. It’s Finch and Warner. The target is 268. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the bowler for India. Wide off the fourth ball.

267/8 is a par score in Melbourne. India will have to bowl well to win the match. It was only the Rohit Sharma-Suresh Raina partnership that was extremely fluent. Otherwise, India struggled throughout. Where would they be without Rohit’s 138? And by the way, the innings has lasted four hours.

Over 50

Moves away from the stump, misses, ball sails over the stumps, wicketkeeper shies, misses too, and they get a single. India end on 267/8 off 50 overs, about 25 runs short of where they would like to be.

Shami has another wild swing but only gets….one run. Last ball coming up.

Two runs off three balls so far. India have scored just 58 off 57 balls in the last ten overs. Make that 59 off 58.

Over 49

OUT! They are falling fast. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is bowled, off a full toss, first ball. And Starc has 6/43. Take him away and its 219/2. No run off the last ball to Shami. What a spell of fast bowling. India 262/8 after 49 overs.

OUT! Rohit Sharma’s innings is over. It is Mitchell Starc’s 5th wicket. Lowish full toss, smashed straight to midwicket. But a brilliant innings. 138 off 139.

Ashwin goes for a Dilscoop or something, ends up way outside off and the ball hits his leg for one leg bye.

Dropped. Ashwin makes room, miscues over gully-point. Fielder runs in from the deep but spoons it. Two runs. Now another miscue and another couple.

Over 48

Short ball outside off, smashed to midwicket, whose direct hit misses. Rohit was nowhere in the frame. Single off the last ball. 257/6 off 48 overs.

Sharma moves outside leg, slower short ball, can only get a single to deep midwicket. Leg bye off the fourth ball. India need a boundary.

Over 47

Slower ball. This is getting tiring here. 1 run scored. Laboured single off the 5th ball. SIX off the last ball! Swings hard to a good length ball, ball crosses the deep midwicket boundary. India 252/6 after 47 overs. Rohit Sharma 136 off 136.

Yet another slower one and nothing Ashwin can do about it. Single off the second. Sharma comes down the track, big heave, slower ball, no run.

Over 46

Mitchell Starc has taken 4/39 off his nine overs.

Three runs off the first two balls. Four off three. Five off four. Then a dot ball. Single off the last. Six off the over. 243/6 after 46 overs.

Over 45

R Ashwin is the new batsman, and plays a dot ball. India are yet to score a run this over. And it ends in a wicket maiden! In the 45th over.

OUT! Gone. Out for a duck. India are losing their way in Melbourne. Late swinging yorker. LBW. 237/6. What does Rohit Sharma do now?

Axar Patel has come in. Swing and a miss off the first ball.

But he’s OUT! Bowled. Mitchell Starc induces Dhoni to play on to his stumps, it was the slower one again. India 237/5.

Ten runs from the previous over. Rohit Sharma continues to do most of the hitting. Dhoni needs to step up. 19 off 30 balls.

Over 43

Sharma gets bat on ball and it goes fine to third man for four. Good shot, the delivery was not wide outside off from Starc. India 227/4 after 43 overs.

Over 42

India run a very quick two to manage 8 off the over. 219/4.

That is a let off. A very wide ball fetches three runs for India. Aussies are making it tough for India by slowing down the pace of the ball though.

India are still being content to score singles. When will they go for an all-out attack? Dhoni pulls through square leg but scores just a single.

Over 41

India need to accelerate now. Rohit misses a slower ball from James Faulkner and then scores a single on the leg side. India 211/4 after 41.

Over 40

Seven from the over as Dhoni continues to block. India 206/4 from 40 overs. The fourth batch of 10 overs has fetched 53/1.

Rohit Sharma continues to go bonkers at the MCG. 200 up for India and then a short ball is pulled for four over midwicket.

Over 39

This is the last over of the batting powerplay. It hasn’t worked out for India as they would have liked it to. Just 19 off 29 balls for the wicket of Raina. And 19 off 30. India 199/4 after 39 overs.

Over 37

Just two off the over though. India 192/4 after 37 overs.

Edged to third man, but its a CENTURY FOR ROHIT SHARMA. Extremely fluent century, full of incredible strokes and sedate batting in between.

Over 36

Dhoni has taken the cover off the ball with a full blooded backfoot drive. Four. It was through the infield before you could say Dhoni. India 190/4 and Rohit will be on strike next over.

MS Dhoni is the new man in, but Rohit Sharma is on strike. Moves to 99 off the second ball.

Over 35

OUT! Raina has clobbered a good length ball straight into the hands of mid on. Didn’t time it well, India lose their fourth at an inopportune time. Raina made 51. India 185/4 after 35 overs.

Five singles off the over so far, and Rohit moves on to 98.

India have taken the batting powerplay, and Raina reaches a half century. His first in Australia.

Over 34

Just three runs off the over though. India 180/3.

Shane Watson comes back into the attack and bowls a wide. Suresh Raina is now one short of fifty. On an Australian pitch. Let that sink in.

Manjrekar and Dravid have some competition:

Over 33

Rohit Sharma moves into the 90s, but with luck. Inside edge, misses the stumps and four to fine leg. Then a late cut to third man for four. India 177/3, and Sharma 94 off 100 balls after 33 overs.

Rare swing and a miss from Raina. Rare for the last 15 overs or so. Manjrekar and Dravid on commentary, content to discuss India’s new jersey and offer a historical perspective instead of Raina’s batting.

Over 32

Last ball slammed for four by Rohit, India move to 166/3 off 32.

India have moved to 159/3. Rohit has reached 80 in what must be counted as one of his best innings. India will look for 275+ from here.

Over 31

India are now also challenging Sandhu’s throwing arm. Quick couple to end the over, 159/3. 100 run partnership up.

Australia are slowly losing control as India grow in confidence. First a slower delivery that ended as a wide outside leg, then a throat-high full toss to Raina that gets called a no-ball for height.

Over 30

Down the track comes Raina, Sandhu bowls short, Raina is halfway down, then makes a dive to get back in the crease and defeat the direct hit. India 153/3 after 30 overs. Third group of 10 overs fetches 64 runs for no wicket.

Sandhu continues to bowl short and get punished via pulling and swivelling. Another boundary as Raina inches up to 43.

Over 29

India 148/3 after 29 overs.

India are starting to take on the bowling now. The spinner Glenn Maxwell is being shown aggression. Inside out over cover, miscued over point, misfield results in a boundary. Run rate creeps over 5.

Over 28

Sharma pulls out another swivel pull, this time along the ground. However, it slows down near the boundary and they run three. Next delivery is short, wide outside leg and sits up. Raina pulls for four. India 139/3 after 28.

India have recovered well after three early wickets, and are now content to milk the bowling on a benign wicket. A good crowd has flowed in by now. Gurinder Sandhu continues to toil. He has 1/15 from 4.4 overs so far.

Over 27

Yet another Rohit Sharma special shot on the offside. Lofted over extra cover for four. No bowler has been spared his brilliance today. India 128/3 after 27 overs.

Over 26

Huge appeal for LBW against Rohit, and given not out. He didn’t hit it. Then a run out chance goes abegging. India 123/3 at the end of the over.

Now the batsmen pinch a quick single. Lovely, sunny morning in Melbourne.

Gurinder Sandhu is back, and is being compared to Tom Moody on commentary. There’s a delay as Raina wants something from the dressing room or trainer or physio. He’s on 26. Raina, not the physio.

People are unhappy with Warner’s sledging:

Over 25

Back-of-the-hand slower ball from Faulkner, Rohit went for a Dilscoop or something, missed and earned the ire of the commentators. Three slower deliveries on the trot now. India 121/3 after 25 overs.

Over 24

Shane Watson has slowly lost his line. The altercation has not ended yet. India continue to motor along. Oh, and then an outside edge. Landed just beyond point. India 117/3 after 24.

David Warner has started a little altercation with Rohit Sharma. Off the overthrow off the last ball of the previous over. Warner got angry for some reason. Raina had a hand on Warner’s shoulder.

Over 23

SIX! He gets to a half century with a six, Rohit Sharma. What great batting from Rohit today. First a shimmy down the track and a loft over wide long on, then a stunning on drive for two. India 113/3 after 23 overs.

Over 22

The pitch is starting to really flatten out. India are pulling with ease of late. India 104/3 after 22.

Watson bowls on middle and leg and Raina flicks it beautifully through midwicket for four. 100 up. Followed by some wild running between the wickets.

Over 21

Raina plays and misses outside off stump. Could be the third such dismissal today. India 96/3 after 21 overs.

Rohit Sharma is playing some incredible shots today. Now he swivel pulls Cummins to fine leg for four. Takes him to 47. Seems to be batting on a different wicket.

Over 20

Just one off the next five balls after the boundary. 89/3 after 20 overs. 45/2 and 44/1 in 10-over blocks so far for India.

Four. Raina takes a big front stride and lifts Watson for four over long on. Then another mix up in running and a direct hit, but Rohit Sharma was back.

Meanwhile, Indian fans on Twitter are none too pleased with India’s start:

Over 19

After a sedate 10 balls or so, Raina pulls Cummins for four. The pitch is benign and the ball didn’t rise as much as Cummins would have liked. Wide called off the next ball, a little harsh. India 84/3 after 19 overs.

Pat Cummins comes back for another spell. Bailey is preferring to give his bowlers short spells instead of one six or seven over spell.

Over 18

Five singles off a Shane Watson over. India 77/3.

Over 17

What is worrying is that India have lost three early wickets, not of good balls, but of callous batting on a benign wicket. India 72/3 after 16 overs.

Gavaskar was explaining how Rohit gets aggressive if he bats 60 balls in an ODI innings, and Rohit just pulled Starc for six over square leg. Now goes after a wide delivery and misses. Weird batsman.

10:11 IST Sunday, 18 January 2015

India have lost three big wickets in the first part of their innings. While Rohit is still looking in good touch, the top order has been blown away. Survival is going to be difficult here for India. They need a century from Rohit.

Over 15

Rohit manages to negotiate the last ball. Maiden over. India 62/3 after 15 overs, and it’s drinks.

Four dot balls of the over. Now five dot balls. Good mix of deliveries from Starc here. Short balls, then fuller ones. One angling in, one going out.

Mitchell Starc returns for his second spell, as India’s newfound confusion between the wickets continues.

Over 14

Some mix up in the middle now, India almost had a run out, but then decided to back out of the second run. 62/3 after 14.

India’s top order has been blown out, except Rohit. Their best batsmen are back in the pavilion. The ones coming in are not great players of bounce. India is in big trouble in Melbourne. Wasim Akram and Sunil Gavaskar on commentary now.

I couldn’t have put it better:

Over 13

OUT! Virat Kohli is gone, India are in big trouble now. Went for the pull, was too late on the shot and neither front foot nor back foot. India 59/3. Very unexpected of Kohli. India 59/3 after 13 overs as Raina walks in.

James Faulkner is now bowling around the wicket to Kohli.

Over 12

Three runs off the 12th over, India 56/2.

Shane Watson comes on to bowl. Lots of extra bounce and Rohit plays a strange shot to third man.

Over 11

India 53/2 after 11 overs.

James Faulkner has replaced Pat Cummins in bowling. Straight drive from Kohli, who has faced just seven balls yet. Good stop at mid off, and they get just two instead of four. India are starting to motor on at the MCG.

Direct hit from Smith as Kohli was bustling back for the second. Umpire Dharmasena calls for the third umpire after hesistating a bit. It’s not out, as he and we suspected.

Over 10

Rohit is batting very fluently today, in a different league to the other Indian batsmen. Eight off the over, India 45/2 after 10 overs.

Rohit dances down the track to Gurinder now, and gets two in the deep. Two balls later, Gurinder bowls a wide.

Over 9

Rohit Sharma has hit some lovely boundaries today. Here’s another one, slightly overpitched from Pat Cummins and beautiful cover drive from Sharma. Little foot movement but the timing was great. India 41/1 after 9 overs.

Over 8

Virat Kohli walks in; Manjrekar says its one position too late. Dravid agrees. India 36/2 after 8 overs.

OUT! Dravid said India have got off to a good start, and here goes Rahane before he can complete his sentence. Similar dismissal to Dhawan, but caught by keeper. India 33/2. Sandhu gets his first international wicket.

Over 7

Here’s another wide ball which is called a wide. Harsha Bhogle tells us that Rahul Dravid will soon make his debut as an ODI commentator even as Rahane refuses to meddle with the last delivery. India 32/1.

Pat Cummins continues. Rohit lets go off a wide ball (which is not called wide) and then pulls out of a hook shot at the last moment. He follows it up by playing and missing outside off. Strange batsman.

Over 6

Just one run from Sandhu’s first international over. India 30/1 after six.

Medium pacer Gurinder Sandhu bowls his first over in international cricket. Ugly, looping action. Second ball just sits up on Rohit a bit, but he manages to play it softly to point.

Over 5

Rahane slashes over point again off the last ball of the over, but not quite the timing this time. India 29/1 after 5 overs.

Starc is bowling a relatively quiet over to Rahane after Rohit’s brilliance last over.

Let’s hope Miss Mischief is right:

Over 4

He lets go of the last ball wisely. India are suddenly 26/1 after 4 overs.

What a shot. Beautiful, straight six from Rohit, just lifted it on the up, fast bowler crashed down the ground for six. Then India run four off the next ball.

Over 3

Rahane chips the ball in the air just wide of point. Beautiful looking shot though a bit risky. India’s first boundary. India 15/1 after 3 overs.

Inside edge goes for four from Rohit. That was a centimetre away from the stumps.

Over 2

After 2 overs, India are 6/1.

Rahane plays and misses the third ball of the over as India continue to struggle. Lots of inside edges happening this over. India yet to get a ball in the middle of the bat.

Over 1

Ajinkya Rahane has come out to bat. Leg bye last ball. India 4/1 after 1 over.

OUT! Dhawan is out, he has been psyched out. Swinging ball outside off stump and Dhawan goes for an expansive drive, instead edges it to slip. India 3/1.

The first three balls have been interesting. One outside edge by Dhawan and then a very close LBW shout which would have gone on to hit the stumps.

8:52 IST Sunday, 18 January 2015

Shikhar Dhawan opening with Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane will bat in the middle order.

8:31 IST Sunday, 18 January 2015

India have won the toss and will bat first. Dhoni says the dew factor comes into play in day-night games. Hopes to use this as good preparation for the World Cup.

India have left out Ishant and Jadeja due to injuries. Axar Patel replaces Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Umesh Yadav are the quick bowlers.

For Australia, India-born Gurinder Sandhu comes in.

8:27 IST Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sunil Gavaskar says the pitch is flat with no sign of grass. Quite unusual for Melbourne. India should bat first if they win the toss.

8:10 IST Sunday, 18 January 2015

Welcome to the LIVE coverage of the 1st ODI between India and Australia in the Carlton Mid Tri Series in Melbourne.

MS Dhoni has one eye on the series and another on the World Cup. He is also looking at India’s fitness problems from the corner of his eyes. Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja have still not recovered from injuries, or are being given some extra rest to keep them fit for the World Cup.

India-Australia ODI encounters have always been thrilling, but Dhoni is a man with one hand on the ODI captaincy and the other still on the World Cup trophy he won in 2011. For India and Dhoni, this tri series (with England as the third team) is much like a dress rehearsal for defending the trophy next month.

Australia on the other hand are a very confident side after having beaten England in the first ODI and won a Test series against India 2-0 before that. The home side though is also fretting over the fitness of Mitchell Marsh and Michael Clarke. Warner, who is rumoured to be injured, might just be forced to open anyway.