Millennium Post

Oz ruin Rohit’s party

Oz ruin Rohit’s party
Rohit Sharma’s rollicking century went in vain as Australia survived a few anxious moments before pulling off a tense four-wicket win over India in the second tri-series ODI on Sunday. After opener Aaron Finch’s confident 96-run knock, Australia were placed comfortably at 216 for two in a chase of 268 but India staged a late comeback by taking three quick wickets.

India dismissed Steve Smith (47), Finch and George Bailey (5) in a gap of 23 balls to raise hopes of a turnaround but Brad Haddin (13) and James Faulkner (9) batted sensibly to deny India a dramatic finish. The hosts ended at 269 for six in exactly 49 overs with Faulknar dispatching a Bhuvneshwar Kumar full-toss to boundary ropes for winning runs.

Electing to bat, India had posted 267 for eight, built around Sharma’s 138-run knock, his sixth one-day hundred. He blasted nine boundaries and four sixes in 139 balls to score his third century against Australia.

The Mumbaikar put on 126 runs for the fourth wicket with Suresh Raina (51) even as Australian paceman Mitchell Starc produced a fine bowling display to pick 6-43 in his 10 overs. Australia began their chase in a confident manner with Finch and David Warner (24) putting on 51 for the first wicket. Umesh Yadav broke the stand by dismissing Warner but seasoned Shane Watson lent solidity to the Australian innings with his 41.

Yadav denied Finch his sixth ODI hundred by having the batsman caught behind but at that time Australia were only 49 runs away from the victory target. Finch controlled his 127-ball innings well, hitting five shots to the fence and two over the ropes.

Smith (47), Watson and Glenn Maxwell (20) did not score big but their contributions proved crucial for Australia, who had also beaten England in the tri-series opener on Friday. India will take on England in their second match on Tuesday and again square off against Australia on January 26.

Australia’s chase looked on course but things went awry in the 40th over with the loss of Smith, who swatted a slower short-delivery from Mohammed Shami straight to R Ashwin at mid-wicket. It sparked a mini-collapse as Finch was dismissed by Yadav in the very next over and Ashwin had Bailey stumped. Shami hobbled off with a possible knee-injury in the 47th over and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-44) gleefully accepted a lobbed up return catch to dismiss Glenn Maxwell (20). It looked like a closer finish than expected but Faulkner and Haddin held their nerves to romp home.

Earlier, India had a horrendous start as they were reduced to 59 for three in 12.5 overs. Opener Shikhar Dhawan (2) was removed in the first over itself, caught at second slip off Starc. Ajinkya Rahane (12) surprisingly came out next but debutant Gurinder Sandhu got him to attempt a high cut and was caught behind by Brad Haddin. Virat Kohli (9) looked off colour as he miscued a pull-shot off Faulkner and was caught by George Bailey at mid-on in the 11th over.

Raina then joined Rohit at the crease and the ensuing fourth wicket stand formed the bedrock of the Indian innings. Rohit got to his hundred off 109 balls in the 37th over and his eventual 138 is the highest in an ODI at this ground by an Indian batsman against Australia.
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