New Delhi: India completed a 4-1 humbling of World Champions Australia in a five-match ODI series with a seven-wicket win at Nagpur on Sunday. The win helped Virat Kohli & Co. reclaim the numero uno spot in ODIs. India are already the top-ranked side in the Tests. (AS IT HAPPENED || SCORECARD)
Chasing a modest total of 242, India rode on the brilliance of Rohit Sharma – who scored 125 off 109 balls – to chase down the target with 43 balls remaining. It was his 14th ODI ton. Rohit and Ajinkya Rahane posted their second century opening stand in two matches, 124 inside 23rd over. In Thursday’s Bengaluru match, the duo stitched 106 runs for the first wicket.
In the process, the 30-year-old became the fastest Indian to score 2,000 ODI runs at home. He needed just 42 innings to achieve this milestone while Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli needed 45 and 46 innings respectively.
After the fall of Rohit, India lost skipper Virat Kohli with equation still reading 16 runs off 62 balls. They have already posted a 99-run second wicket stand to reduce the chase to a mere formality at Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground.
Earlier in the day, Aussie captain Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat first again, hoping to set another mammoth target. But despite a good opening stand between David Warner (53) and Aaron Finch (32), the visitors failed to build on the promising start as Axar Patel led the rejuvenated Indian attack.
Finch and Warner’s 66-run opening stand came after their monumental 231-run effort in Bengaluru.
Patel (3/38) bowled a tidy spell and managed to register his second best bowling figures in ODIs. Jasprit Bumrah (2/51) bounced back brilliantly in the death overs to finish with much-improved figures.
India, who gave match practice to their reserve pacers — Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami – in the previous game, opted for a full-strength squad, with unwell sitting out for Patel.
The spin trio of Patel, Kuldeep Yadav (0/48) and Kedar Jadhav (1/48) have done the job for India with their disciplined bowling efforts.
For Australia, Travis Head (42) and Marcus Stoinis (46) played fleeting knocks, but all in all, they were unable to break free at the death, scoring just 32 in the last six overs.
India won the first three matches of the series in Chennai, Kolkata and Indore. But the reigning World champions hit back with an emphatic 21-run win in Bengaluru, which snapped India’s nine-match winning run. In fact, Kohli & Co were looking for a tenth straight win, a feat no other Indian side had ever achieved.
The ODIs will be followed by a three-match T20I series, starting Saturday (October 7) in Ranchi.