Target practice - part one
Ishant Sharma's first over was nothing if not eventful. His fourth delivery was driven powerfully straight by Aaron Finch. So straight, it deflected off the bowler's hand, smashed into umpire Richard Kettleborough's shin before ricocheting onto the stumps and dislodging a bail. Kettleborough battled through the pain but hobbled off during the drinks break, with the assistance of Australian medical staff, and was replaced by third umpire Paul Wilson. Incidentally, umpire John Ward chose to wear a helmet for this match, but even shin pads wouldn't have been enough to prevent bruising from Finch's booming drive.
Target practice - part two
It was dangerous to be just about anywhere in the field with Finch and opening partner David Warner in monstering mood and sporting big bats and bulging forearms. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was next in the firing line when Warner clattered a fullish delivery straight back past the bowler. Bhuvi reflexively stuck out his hand and almost lost a finger, at the very least, as the ball rocketed through his grasp and down to the long-on boundary. The look on his face mirrored that of Kettleborough just a few overs earlier.
The Switch Cut
Warner isn't just about power, though, and demonstrated his ambidexterity and finesse with the most creative shot of the innings. Ravinda Jadeja saw Warner shape early for a switch-hit and adjusted his delivery accordingly, darting a flat ball down what would normally be the left-handed Warner's leg side. Warner countered by playing a classy late cut down to fine leg. Or is that third man? Whatever. It resulted in single and plenty of appreciative applause.
As good as Warner's shot was, Glenn Maxwell is the Missy Elliott of cricket whenever he decides to put his thing down, flip it and reverse it. A brilliant innings was capped off in the 50th over when Maxwell pummeled Ishant for 18 off five deliveries and then fell to a brilliant catch by Manish Pandey on the final ball. The pick of the shots was an outrageous crouching reverse lap sweep over short third man for four. Much has been made of his "mature" match-winning knock in Melbourne. Hopefully, maturity will never completely erase entertaining stroke play like this.
Nathan Lyon had not played an ODI since Australia's series against Pakistan in the UAE back in 2014. Australia selector, Rod Marsh described Lyon's inclusion in the current side, as well as the T20 squad to face India next week, as an "audition" and captain Steven Smith wasted no time thrusting the off-spinner onto center stage. Whether or not Lyon expected to open the bowling in his first ODI in 18 months, the result probably wasn't what he hoped for. His first two overs went for a total of 23 runs and he was quickly replaced by John Hastings. He was hardly alone though; India's openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dharwan plundered 65 runs off the first eight overs.
The one-handed catch
Rohit certainly looked in the mood for a massive score and he dished out merciless charge to Australia's bowlers early on. Kane Richardson felt the brunt of Rohit's brute force and paid for errors in line and length before eventually strangling the batsman down leg side. An earlier ball, also straying down leg, was dismissively flicked by Rohit off his pads and deposited 96 metres away at the back of one of the stands. A singlet-sporting fan held a cracking one-handed catch that put some of India's fielding efforts in this series in the shade.