Rohit Sharma re-wrote the record books and also authored personal bests en route to a magnificent 209 (158b, 12x4, 16x6) that carried India to a dramatic 57-run win against a fighting Australia and also helped them clinch the seven-match ODI series 3-2 here on Saturday.
In a match of twists and turns, India, asked to bat first, notched up 383 for six with 101 runs coming in the last five overs during the rollicking 167-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Sharma and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (62, 38b, 7x4, 2x6).
In reply, the Australians, reeling at 211 for eight in the 31st over, waged a magnificent fightback with James Faulkner scoring 116 (73b, 11x4, 6x6) and taking the visitors agonizingly close to a dream win with a 115-run stand for the ninth wicket with Clint McKay (18) before both departed within a delivery of each other as they were all out for 326 in the 46th over.
India all but looked the gift horse in the mouth with some ordinary bowling that helped the Australians, chasing under tremendous pressure, to get within an ace of snatching a thrilling win in a match that saw 38 sixes.
The Australians were never quite in the hunt at the start as they lost wickets, including that of their top scorer and skipper George Bailey (4), at regular intervals though Glenn Maxwell (60, 22b, 3x4, 7x6), a limping Shane Watson (49, 22b, 2x4, 6x6) counter-attack but to little effect.
It was left to Faulkner and McKay to raise the Aussie hopes with a fighting partnership until both were dismissed in the space of two balls much to relief of the Indian team. McKay was bowled by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja who came away with 3 for 73 and Faulkner hoisted Mohammad Shami (3 for 52).
The visitors, without their key seamer and leading wicket-taker Mitchell Johnson who returned home Friday to prepare for the forthcoming Ashes series, also lost all-rounder Shane Watson who left the field with a hamstring injury after bowling just five overs. In the event, the Aussie attack proved to be a fodder for the in-form Indian batsmen.
The Aussie chase moved in fits and starts, marked by a couple of bizarre dismissals, notably those of Bailey, who was too busy watching his partner completing second run while himself was stranded by a throw from non-striker’s end to Dhoni who broke the stumps.
R Sharma c sub (MC Henriques) b McKay 209
S Dhawan lbw b Doherty 60 V
Kohli run out (Coulter-Nile/Haddin)0
S Raina lbw b Doherty 28
Yuvraj Singh c Haddin b Faulkner 12
Mahendra Singh Dhoni run out (sub [MC Henriques]/Haddin)62
RA Jadeja not out 0
Extras (lb 5, w 7) 12
Total (6 wickets, 50 overs) 383
Fall of wickets 1-112, 2-113, 3-185, 4-207, 5-374, 6-383
C McKay 10-0-89-1
N Coulter-Nile 10-0-80-0
J Faulkner 10-0-75-1
S Watson 5-0-26-0
X Doherty 10-0-74-2
G Maxwell 4-0-32-0
A Finch 1-0-2-0
A Finch lbw b Mohammed Shami..5
P Hughes c Yuvraj b Ashwin 23
B Haddin b Ashwin 40
G Bailey run out (Yuvraj Singh/Vinay Kumar/Dhoni) 4
A Voges b Mohammed Shami 4
G Maxwell c Jadeja b V Kumar 60
J Faulkner c Dhawan b Shami 116 S
Watson c M Shami b Jadeja 49
N Coulter-Nile c Kohli b Jadeja 3
C McKay b Jadeja 18
X Doherty not out 0
Extras (lb 1, w 2, nb 1) 4
Total (all out, 45.1 overs) 326
Fall of wickets 1-7, 2-64, 3-70, 4-74, 5-132, 6-138, 7-205, 8-211, 9-326
B Kumar 8-1-47-0
Mohammed Shami 8.1-0-52-3
R Vinay Kumar 9-0-102-1
R Ashwin 10-0-51-2
R Jadeja 10-0-73-3
India won by 57 runs player of the series: Rohit Sharma