India bounced back in style to clinch the three-match series 2-1 after beating Australia by seven-wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on Sunday. Helped by Rohit Sharma’s sparkling century and Virat Kohli’s calm influence, the Men in Blue showed enough vigour and character to win two matches in a row after the humiliating ten-wicket loss in the first ODI in Mumbai.
Chasing a target of 287, Rohit Sharma (119) hit his 29th ODI hundred to guide India against a formidable Australian side. From the very beginning, Rohit played on the frontfoot against the seamers and with the help of Virat Kohli (89), he took his team to a comfortable position. Manish Pandey finished the affair with a confident straight drive against Josh Hazlewood with 15 balls to play.
Earlier, Steve Smith (131) was in fine form just like his previous innings and struck his ninth ODI hundred, but his compatriots couldn’t get it going against an Indian bowling attack which was led by Mohammed Shami (4/63). India bounced back in the death overs to restrict Australia to 286/9, as Shami struck thrice making Australia lose five wickets for 63 runs.
Australia won the toss for the third time in a row but unlike the last game in Rajkot, opted to bat to first.
After opting to bat first, Australia lost their in-form openers — David Warner (3) and Aaron Finch (19) — rather early. While the former fell to the brilliance of a Mohammed Shami delivery, the captain was runout by a combination of Ravindra Jadeja, Shreyas Iyer and Shami.
Australia reached 56/2 with Steve Smith (131) and Marnus Labuschagne (54) in the middle by the first powerplay, and both of them put up a brilliant 127-run partnership, before the latter was dismissed by a stunning Virat Kohli catch. Surprisingly, Mitchell Starc came on to bat at third down but was sent home for a two-ball duck by Jadeja.
Smith carried the burden of guiding Australia to a fighting total, and with the help of Alex Carey (35), he maintained the momentum with an innings which had 14 boundaries and a six. After scoring his first hundred in three years, Smith fell to a fine catch from Shreyas Iyer at deep mid-wicket. Then, the Men in Blue showed their brilliance with the ball in the final three overs as Shami wrapped up the likes of Pat Cummins (0) and Adam Zampa (1) quite quickly to limit Australia to 286/9.
With Shikhar Dhawan’s shoulder injured, Rohit Sharma (119) began the chase of 287 with KL Rahul (19), but previous match’s saviour fell in the 13th over to Ashton Agar. Rohit though continued his onslaught, smacking the likes of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc and set the precedent for his brilliant innings.
With Virat Kohli (89) on the crease, the 32-year-old took India from 69/1 to 206/2, where he was dismissed by Adam Zampa as he tried to go for the maximum in his 119-run innings, where he hit eight boundaries and an impressive six sixes. Virat Kohli carried the baton forward and characteristically, he kept his calm and formed a sensible partnership with Shreyas Iyer (44).
With his captain playing reassuringly, Iyer gained confidence and scored a quickfire 44 by the end of the innings. Although Kohli was bowled out on 89 by Josh Hazlewood, India were already within 13 runs of victory. Manish Pandey (8) came on and hit two boundaries, and comfortably carried his team over the line in 47.3 overs, by hitting Hazlewood straight down the ground.
Australia 286/9 in 50 overs (Steve Smith 131, Marnus Labuschagne 54; Mohammed Shami 4/63, Ravindra Jadeja 2/44) lost to India 289/3 in 47.3 overs (Rohit Sharma 119, Virat Kohli 89; Ashton Agar 1/38, Adam Zampa 1/44)
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