By BV Swagath
An epic double century from Rohit Sharma helped India to win the Series decider at Bangalore where it rained as many as 38 sixes! Australia chasing an unreachable 384 went down fighting by 57 runs. James Faulkner scored a maiden ODI century and threatened to take the Aussies all alone. Before him, Glenn Maxwell and Shane Watson played blinders to ensure that the Aussies weren’t going to surrender easily.
The Aussie run chase was derailed in the 2nd over itself when a speedy inswinger from Mohammad Shami had Aaron Finch lbw. In the 13th over, the visitors lost Phil Hughes (23) flicking Ashwin to mid wicket and big fish George Bailey through a run out. Bailey scored just 4 when he was run out after taking it easy at his end while pausing to see if his partner Haddin was going to complete the second run. Haddin after looking good with 40 (from 49 balls) was clean bowled through the gate by a classical off break from Ashwin to leave the Aussies at 74 for 4 in 16.5 overs.
Glenn Maxwell, who walked in, was keen in getting a four or six every time he was on strike. In a flash, Maxwell brought up his half century in 18 balls but his party was ended with his miscued pull off Vinay Kumar sailing into the hands of deep mid wicket. Maxwell finished with 60 from just 22 balls with 3 fours and 7 sixes. After his exit, an injured Shane Watson came in to bat despite a hamstring strain. Watson replicated Maxwell’s blinder, especially after being mocked by Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina.
Watson’s efforts though were cut short to 49 (from 22 balls with 2 fours and 6 sixes) as he unluckily got caught at backward point off Jadeja. So bizarre was Watson’s dismissal that his attempted square cut flew off the edge and ricocheted off Dhoni’s knee to point.
Australia were heading towards a massive defeat at 211 for 8 when Coulter-Nile holed out to long off. But the one last warrior left for the Aussies in James Faulkner had other ideas. After playing a second fiddle to Watson, Faulkner exploded after his senior’s exit and muscled to a fifty in 35 balls. With fantastic support from no.10 Clint McKay, Faulkner helped himself to a maiden ODI century after smacking his second fifty in 22 balls.
India after conceding 115 runs for the 9th wicket finally got the breakthrough as Ravindra Jadeja cleaned up the off stump of Clint McKay (18 from 37 balls) with on that turned away from middle. The match came to an end when Shikhar Dhawan held onto a running catch in the deep off a miscued hit from James Faulkner who finished with a valiant 116 from 73 balls. Faulkner’s heroic knock contained 11 fours and a six. For India, Mohammad Shami and Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets each while Ashwin held his own with 2 for 51. R Vinay Kumar suffered a nightmare going for 102 runs in his 9 overs.
Double centurion Rohit Sharma was the Man of the Match and also the Player of the Series.
India Batting: Rohit Sharma became the third player in ODI history to score a double century joining the elite club of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. India has more than less batted out the Aussies with a massive total of 383 for 6 thanks to Rohit’s legendary ODI knock.
Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma provided yet another dominating start for Team India and the Australian attack without Mitchell Johnson was just too easy for them. The hosts were going great guns at 107 for 0 in 17 overs when a passing shower suspended play for a while. After the resumption, India lost the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli within an over to slip to 113 for 2.
Dhawan departed in the 19th over, lbw to Xavier Doherty after missing a flick to a turning ball. The left-handed opener scored a fluent 60 from 57 balls with 9 fours in an opening stand of 112. The Bangalore crowd was annoyed when their hero Virat Kohli was run out for a 3-ball duck after being sent back by Rohit Sharma. However, a series of lusty shots from Rohit in anger saw the Aussie spinners – Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell taken to the cleaners.
Rohit kept his end intact and got together a 72-run partnership with Suresh Raina (28 from 30 balls), who too was lbw, playing inside the line to Doherty. The Aussies took away the initiative from the hosts when Haddin came up with a diving catch off a thick edge from Yuvraj Singh (12) in Faukner’s bowling. India were under pressure at 207 for 4 in the 34th over but the pair of Rohit Sharma and Skipper MS Dhoni guided them to set up things for the slog overs.
Rohit Sharma having got to his 4th ODI century in 114 balls went ballistics to double it by the end of the innings. MS Dhoni played his part to smash 62 from 38 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes. Rohit went onto score 209 in 158 balls with 12 fours and 16 sixes! The 26-year-old took just 44 balls to convert his 100 into a historic 200.
Toss and Teams:
Australia have won the toss and asked India to bat first in the 7th and final ODI at Bangalore on a pitch that is expected to stay good for batting. Both the sides have made a change each. India have brought back Vinay Kumar for Amit Mishra while the Aussies have brought in Nathan Coulter-Nile for Mitchell Johnson who has flown back home.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Vinay Kumar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami
Australia: Phillip Hughes, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, George Bailey (C), Glenn Maxwell, Adam Voges, Brad Haddin (WK), James Faulkner, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty, Nathan Coulter-Nile