IND vs AUS: Commanding knocks by Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli give India series win in Bangalore
Effortless batting by the captain-deputy duo of Virat Kohli (89) and Rohit Sharma (119) in Bangalore ensures hosts pocket yet another series win after the Aussie thrashing in Game 1.
Banglore: There was a typically busy effort from Steve Smith in the first part of the India-Australia series decider but it was the flair of Rohit Sharma and the class of Virat Kohli that won on the night. Chasing the stiff 287-run target set by the Australians here on Sunday night, Rohit and Kohli made batting look ridiculously easy on a track that was not altogether in favour of the batsmen, to take the Indian team to yet another ODI series triumph.
Smith's ninth ODI ton was no doubt a superb effort, but the former Australian skipper would be the first to admit that his knock paled in comparison to Rohit's 29th century. The Mumbaikar's stroke-filled 119 (128b, 8x4, 6x6) and his dominating 137-run second-wicket stand (145b) with his skipper Kohli (89, 91b, 8x4) meant that India were home and dry with seven wickets and 15 balls to spare.
That they didn't even need the services of opener Shikhar Dhawan who, left the field early in the Australian innings after a bad fall that damaged his shoulder, tells the tale.
KL Rahul opened in Dhawan's place but when he was ruled out leg before by technology after a 69-run stand, the Rohit-Kohli combine took over. Rohit was the initial aggressor but once Kohli had assessed the pitch and conditions for himself, both flourished in tandem. For every aggressive pull by Rohit, there was a calm Kohli punch or drive that left the crowd at the Chinnaswamy Stadium enthralled. A cameo by Shreyas Iyer (44 not out, 35b, 6x4, 1x6) was the icing on the cake.
India captain Virat Kohli dives to take the catch that sends back Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne (right) during the third and final one-day international at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore yesterday. Pic /AFP
Earlier, Smith, after running out his skipper Aaron Finch in a terrible mix-up, took on the responsibility of both anchoring the innings and ensuring the pace didn't drop too much. That Mohd Shami had earlier sent back the dangerous David Warner cheaply only added to Smith's task. The pitch, as Finch expected when he won the toss and chose to bat, was somewhat sluggish but the outfield was lightning fast and so that helped someone like Smith. It was on the same date, three years ago that the former Australian skipper had scored his last ODI ton and with the short series tied 1-1, the ninth was well-timed. Smith's 132-ball 131 (14x4, 1x6) and his 127-run third-wicket stand with his understudy Marnus Labuschagne (54, 64b, 5x4) was what led to the eventual near 300 that the visitors put up.
Had it not been for Ravindra Jadeja extracting good turn during his single spell of 10-1-44-2 and Jasprit Bumrah (10-0-38-0) exercising great control that total could have swelled but then the mood that Rohit first and Kohli later were in, no total may been enough on the night.
Australia 286-9 in 50 overs (S Smith 131, M Labuschagne 54, A Carey 35; Mohd Shami 4-63, R Jadeja 2-44) lost to India 289-3 in 47.3 overs (R Sharma 119, V Kohli 89, S Iyer 44 not out) by seven wickets.
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