Australia 4 for 389 (Smith 104, Warner 83, Labuschagne 70, Maxwell 63*, Finch 60) beat India 9 for 338 (Kohli 89, Rahul 76, ) by 51 runs
During the innings break the host broadcaster crossed for a segment with cricket's one of a kind YouTube curator Rob Moody, in what is set to be a regular feature as he takes viewers through highlights both brilliant and amusing.
Moody's memory is near enough to photographic, but in years to come he will be forgiven for confusing elements of the second ODI between Australia and India at the SCG with the first fixture of the series two days before. On both occasions Steven Smith crashed a century from an identical number of balls, on both occasions Australia's batting functioned more or less as the captain Aaron Finch would want it to, and on both occasions India's chase faltered and then petered out after a modicum of a contest into the middle overs.
More worryingly for the Australians were parallel losses to injury, as David Warner followed Marcus Stoinis into the treatment room when he pulled up sharply with an apparent groin injury that has the potential to not just scupper his white ball duty but severely affect his Test summer as well. India's salient concerns were less to do with injury than quality of performance; twice now their bowling attack has been severely mauled, an experience shared only by Mitchell Starc on the Australian side.
A crowd of 17,573 was able to savour Australia's first bilateral ODI series win at home since 2016-17 against Pakistan.
There were a few differences: Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul each made their first substantial contributions of the tour, and Moises Henriques' return to international cricket for the first time since 2017 was punctuated by a batting cameo, some handy overs through the middle and a sublime catch at midwicket to account for Kohli. Given a decent platform and strong support from Labuschagne, Smith and Glenn Maxwell were arguably able to improve upon their efforts in the opener.
Kohli was left to shuffle his bowlers with something like resignation as they were again exposed on a good pitch by in-form Australian batting. Mohammed Shami was the closest to providing a genuine test for the hosts, but he and Jasprit Bumrah were still expensive. Navdeep Saini, meanwhile, has conceded 153 runs from 17 overs so far.
In hot, blustery conditions, Warner and Finch were again into stride quickly, and for much of their stand purred along at a better rate than they had managed in the series opener. Once again Saini's seamers were targeted relentlessly, either side of a high full toss that hit Finch in the stomach, while Warner again pushed extremely hard between the wickets and again saved himself on one occasion with a full-length dive.
Australia's openers took their union to 142, meaning they had tallied more than 400 runs from their past three partnerships combined, before Finch was deceived by Shami - once more India's best bowler - and lobbed a leading edge to mid-off. Warner was clearly seeking the century his opening partner had achieved on Friday, but found himself exiting for 83 when he challenged Shreyas Iyer's arm from the deep and was confounded by a direct hit.
At 2 for 156 in the 26th over, the innings was in some danger of losing momentum, but instead the SCG crowd was treated to the first of what is likely to be numerous key partnerships between Smith and Labuschagne this summer. On a somewhat slower pitch, Smith recalibrated so beautifully that his scoring rate lost nothing next to the coruscating effort two days before, and in Labuschagne he had a partner more than willing to hustle a two to get the senior man back on strike.
Australia's acceleration was steady at first before getting increasingly dramatic, typified by how Smith motored from 50 to 100 in 24 balls, delivering a wondrous double of consecutive ODI centuries on his home ground. Warner was the previous Australian to do the trick in 2016, but no one has ever managed to put together a pair of such thrillingly inventive hundreds as Smith did here. Incredibly, he was seen to remonstrate with himself more than once when shots occasionally failed to find the gap of his choosing; spectators were in the presence of otherworldly talent.
Kohli's desperation for respite led him away from his frontline bowlers, as Mayank Agarwal and Hardik Pandya were both tried - the latter after a lengthy injury layoff and an apparent change in his bowling action to be more front-on. Pandya's use of offcutters forced some of the few false shots seen all innings, and resulted ultimately in Smith's exit, slicing to short third man. Pandya, though, went off the field following his spell, and Kohli had to go back to Saina for the 50th over of the innings.
Maxwell walked to the middle with 52 balls remaining, and he was able to treat the SCG to another exhibition of audacity and ball-striking. Maxwell's innings was the ideal capstone on the 50 overs, which again lagged behind schedule, this time with four overs still required at the nominal 6.10pm finish.
Thanks to Labuschagne and Maxwell, Australia managed to comfortably better their initial effort, and 15 from the final over gave them 114 from the last 10 overs and their highest tally in an SCG ODI. A cool change arrived obligingly for Australia as the second innings began, meaning far friendlier climes for their bowlers and fielders.
This did not overly aid Starc, who was a little more accurate than he had been in an unpleasant opening over of the series but still struggled for a decent semblance of rhythm, consistency and confidence as a result: at one point relieving evident frustrations while hiding his cap over his face. Josh Hazlewood has been steadier, and his subtle variations of pace and length ultimately drew a miscalculation from Shikhar Dhawan and a catch at mid-on after India had made it to 58.
Two runs later and Agarwal was edging Pat Cummins through to Alex Carey, setting up a skittish stand between Kohli and Iyer. For a time they kept up with the kind of run rate needed to build from, but without anything like the same sense of command enjoyed by the hosts earlier in the day. A wicket always seemed likely, and it arrived when Iyer smeared Henriques to the right of Smith at midwicket for a goalkeeper's take.
Kohli's innings brought still more high-scoring milestones, but was to be ended by an arguably better catch from Henriques when he subbed into Smith's position. The rest of the innings melted away slowly at first and then with increasing speed, albeit with enough time for Starc to suffer another belting, this time from Ravindra Jadeja. Cummins fared better the following over, claiming two in two balls, and the game wound down to Australia's series win with all the excitement of a slowly deflating balloon.
A few highlights, particularly from Smith and Maxwell, were well worthy of a Moody segment. But as contests these two opening games were primarily reminders of how formidable Australia can be to beat at home when their opponents have anything but the best possible preparation and team balance. In the year of Covid-19, India were never going to have the former, and appear to have been unable to achieve the latter.