India convincingly ended Australia's 10-match winning streak and underlined their Cricket World Cup title ambitions in a 36-run victory at the Oval.
The teams evenly split eight one-day internationals this year but India openly admitted they was preparing for the World Cup, and showed how brilliant their planning was by dominating the defending champions all over the park.
India won the toss, chose to bat, and paced their innings superbly, starting slowly and finishing in a rush to make 352-5. Shikhar Dhawan hit his third World Cup century, 117, and combined in an opening stand of 127 with Rohit Sharma. Captain Virat Kohli added 82.
Weather expected to play spoilsport yet again
Heavy rain threatens to play spoilsport when India face New Zealand in their next World Cup game at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
However, as per weather forecast, the rain is likely to subside by lunchtime on Thursday which means at least a curtailed game remains a possibility.
There have been persistent showers across the United Kingdom for the past two days and the local Met department has issued a warning for the residents. "A Yellow Warning for rain is in force in the Nottingham area for most of this week," the Nottingham Post reported.
The Met office's warning on its website covered a large area of England, including Birmingham, Peterborough and Newcastle. "There is a chance that heavy prolonged rain could lead to localised flooding and disruption to transport," it said.
As per local Met Office weather forecast for Nottingham, the heavy rain will continue till 7 pm on Wednesday.
Shikhar Dhawan picks up injury in heroic innings
India on Tuesday put Dhawan under observation over a hand injury that could sideline the batsman for at least two weeks at the World Cup.
Dhawan led India to their second win of the 50-over tournament with his 117 against holders Australia on Sunday, but the opener took a hit near the thumb during the innings and didn't come out to field at the Oval.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India did not reveal the extent of Dhawan's injury, but said the left-hander will stay with the team after rumours he would have to be replaced.
"Team India opening batsman Mr Shikhar Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team. The team management has decided that Mr Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored," said a BCCI statement.
"Mr Dhawan sustained an injury on the back of his left hand in the region between the index finger and thumb during the CWC 2019 league match against Australia," the statement added.
Team physio Patrick Farhart is assessing Dhawan's injury after the batsman was taken to Leeds for detailed scans.
Dhawan suffered the injury as a result of a nasty blow from a rising delivery by Australia paceman Pat Cummins in the early phase of his innings but went on to complete his 17th one-day international century.
Dhawan, however, played no further part in the match after his dismissal, with substitute Ravindra Jadeja taking the field in his place as India comfortably defended their total of 352 for five to complete a 36-run victory.
Meanwhile, rising star Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu are on the BCCI's official stand-by list in case a replacement for Dhawan is needed.
Reports from India suggest Pant, who missed out on making the 15-man World Cup squad, is expected to fly in as cover for Dhawan.
India will start as favourites in the game against New Zealand in Nottingham despite losing a warm-up match to the Black Caps last month.
New Zealand off to winning start
A seven-wicket victory against Afghanistan on Saturday gave New Zealand three wins from three games to start the tournament, and consigned Afghanistan to their third straight loss.
For New Zealand, it was the bowling depth that proved crucial, with change bowlers Jimmy Neesham (5-31) and Lockie Ferguson (4-37) reining in the Afghan innings after Hazrat Zazai (34) and Noor Ali Zadran (31) got away to a flyer.
The New Zealand chase was less dramatic, despite the innings-opening loss of Guptill to Aftab Alam's first ball of the tournament.
Kane Williams led the way with an unbeaten 79, including an 89-run third-wicket partnership Ross Taylor (48) as New Zealand reached 173-3 in the 33rd over.
Williamson said the performance was an improvement on the previous two wins and his Black Caps were building nicely for their next match in Nottingham against 2011 champion India. He credited Neesham with making a big difference.
"He bowled some beautiful deliveries today and broke a crucial partnership at the top of the order for us and deserves all the credit that he'll get for a five-for, which is outstanding," Williamson said, adding, "we, without a doubt, know how talented the Afghanistan side is ... very savvy as well, very cagey in how they operate. So it was a really good performance from us today."
With inputs from Agencies.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
India were bundled out for a meagre 225 with Sri Lankan spinners Akila Dananjaya (3/44) and Praveen Jayawickrama (3/59) wreaking havoc in the middle overs.
India are unlikely to make changes as they would like to pocket the series before giving chances to other youngsters in the squad.
Shikhar Dhawan indicated that there was an option of not playing the T20 International series after losing nine players to COVID-19 related isolation.