Internet Desk: A blistering century from India’s star opener Rohit Sharma (125) helped the Men in Blue to register a convincing seven-wicket win over Australia in the fifth and final ODI at Nagpur today. With this convincing 4-1 series win over the Aussies Virat Kohli & Co. become the World no.1 side in ICC ODI rankings too. They are already the holding the top spot in ICC Test rankings.
A blistering century from India’s star opener Rohit Sharma (125) helped the Men in Blue to register a convincing seven-wicket win over Australia in the fifth and final ODI at Nagpur today. With this convincing 4-1 series win over the Aussies Virat Kohli & Co. become the World no.1 side in ICC ODI rankings too. They are already the holding the top spot in ICC Test rankings.
Chasing a modest target set by the visitors, Indian openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma started well for the side. They shared a partnership of 124 runs for the first wicket. Rahane (61) who got his chances in the playing XI in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan scored his fourth half century of the series and showed the world that he will give tough competition to his compatriot Dhawan whenever he will get a chance to play. Other opener Rohit Sharma scored his 14th ton before getting out to Nathan Coulter-Nile. Rohit always plays well against the Aussie bowling line-up as 6 of his 14 centuries have come against the Australians. Virat Kohli’s deputy also brought up his 6000 runs in ODI on his way to scoring a century. Earlier, Rohit became the fastest Indian player to reach 2000 ODI runs in India, as he surpassed former captain Sourav Ganguly and current India skipper Virat Kohli. Sourav took 45 innings to surpass the 6000 ODI runs mark, while Kohli took 46 innings to achieve the same feat. Rohit just took 42 innings to achieve the milestone. Except the openers India skipper Virat Kohli too scored 39 runs before giving his wicket to Adam Zampa.
Earlier, Australia once again failed to build on a promising start provided by Warner and Finch.
Patel bowled a tidy spell, ending with his second best figures in ODIs while Jasprit Bumrah (2/51) bounced back brilliantly in the death overs after leaking 34 runs in his first four overs.
India, who gave match practice to their reserve pacers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami — in the previous game, went into the middle with a full strength squad. In the spin department, spinner Axar Patel took the field alongside Kuldeep Yadav as Yuzvendra Chahal was unwell.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was fairly accurate his first spell but Bumrah paid the price for being erratic.
After starting with a maiden, Bumrah was guilty of bowling either too full or too short as the dangerous duo of Warner and Finch took him to the cleaners.
Bumrah ended up leaking 34 runs in his opening spell of four overs and was hit for as many seven boundaries. Finch particularly punished the usually accurate pacer, hitting him for five fours including three in a row in the eighth over.
Such was Finch s onslaught that Australia reached 60 for no loss in 10 overs after they had scored just 21 in the first five. The two big-hitters were once again successful in providing their team a good start after Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat for third game in a row. Their 66-run stand came after their monumental 231-run effort in Bengaluru.
Kohli had to do something to change the momentum of the game and he brought in Hardik Pandya as first change. The lanky all-rounder struck in his second over with Finch mistiming a full ball to Bumrah at mid-off.
The spin trio of Patel, Kuldeep Yadav (0/48) and part- timer Kedar Jadhav (1/48) then stemmed the flow of runs.
It was also the first time Jadhav bowled his full quota of 10 overs.
Jadhav was impressive and besides keeping things tight, took the prized wicket of Smith, who missed a sweep shot to be plumb in front, leaving Australia at 100 for two in the 20th over.
Two quick wickets, Warner and Peter Handscomb, followed the captain s dismissal triggering a middle-order collapse and undoing the good work done by the openers.
However, it was not the first time in the series that Australia were not able to capitalize on a solid start. They were sitting pretty at 100 for one but soon found themselves under severe pressure on 118 for four in the 25th over.
Travis Head (42) and Marcus Stoinis (46) steadied the ship with an 87-run stand off 112 balls but got out just when they looked set to push the scoring rate. Eventually, the visitors could only muster 52 runs in the last 10 overs.
Rohit was adjudged Man of the Match for his brilliant knock today and India’s star all-rounder Hardik Pandya got the Man of the Series award for his all-round performance against the Aussies in the ODI series.