Standing tall Down Under: Dhoni anchors, Kedar finishes as India win ODI series
Melbourne: Mahendra Singh Dhoni rekindled his love affair with final flourishes, anchoring India to their maiden bilateral ODI series triumph in Australia for a perfect finish to a historic trip Down Under here Friday.
Virat Kohli's men became the first country to return from Australia without losing a single series having won the Test series 2-1 and drawn the T20 Internationals 1-1.
From a dasher, to a finisher to finally the anchor in the last leg of his career, Dhoni 3.0 was in full flow during India's successful chase of 231 on a sluggish Melbourne pitch after Yuzvendra Chahal set it up with a career-best 6 for 42.
Dhoni's unbeaten 87 off 114 balls was a testimony to his high quality match awareness as the street-smart Kedar Jadhav (61 no, 57 balls) donned the role of a finisher. Not to forget the 'Man of the Series' award for a hat-trick of half-centuries and two coming in winning causes.
While Dhoni was lucky to be dropped on 0 and 74, Australian bowling never had the sting to unsettle the Indian batsmen despite skipper Virat Kohli (46) being dismissed with more than 100 runs left.
Chasing 231, India got off to a slow start as well. Australia created some good pressure with the new ball, in particular Jhye Richardson (1-41) who tied down Rohit Sharma (9).
Kohli added 44 runs with Shikhar Dhawan (23) for the second wicket, but it was a slower partnership than usual thanks to some tight bowling and fielding by Australia in this passage of play. Earlier, Chahal matched Ajit Agarkar's 6-42 in 2004 as he recorded the joint best-ever ODI figures on Australian soil. In doing so, he also improved on his previous best of 5-22 against South Africa at Centurion in January 2018.
For Australia, Peter Handscomb (58) scored a fighting half-century and took them to a respectable total of 230 runs after they were reduced to 161-6 at one stage. Play was delayed by ten minutes because of rain and, after the first two balls in the Australian innings there was a further 20-minute delay before weather improved.