■ Rohit makes 209, the third ODI double ton, with SIXTEEN SIXES.
■ Faulkner makes 57-BALL TON, Australia’s fastest in ODIs.
■ India make 383, winning the game by 57 runs, and series 3-2.
■ 38 SIXES hit today—19 by each side, a record aggregate.
■ Glen Maxwell gets FIFTY IN 18 BALLS, the second fastest in ODIs.
■ Bailey’s FIRST FAILURE of the tour costs Australia the game.
■ Vinay concedes 102 RUNS in 9 overs, the worst ODI figures by an India bowler.
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FOUR MOMENTS defined today’s series decider at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Moment # 1—It was Virat Kohli’s call. He came charging as the ball rolled to mid-on. Rohit Sharma hesitated. He began running, slipped, and finally turned his back on Kohli. Kohli was halfway down. He tried to run back. But Brad Haddin had whipped the bails off. Kohli, furious, left remonstrating. Scoring a duck at his adopted home venue was a bitter experience—not just for Kohli for his countless fans in attendance.
Moment # 2—Rohit chipped James Faulkner over cover and took two runs to complete his hundred, his second of the series. Today, he had to score a big one for many reasons. It was a must-win game for India; he had run-out India’s best batsman; and Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina had failed again. Rohit’s celebration was a waft of his bat. It’s how Kohli celebrates his hundreds. In the dressing room, Kohli stood up and applauded. Little did anyone know the Rohit show was just beginning.
Moment # 3—Austraila captain George Bailey had been their best batsman of this tour with 478 runs. As Australia chased 384, he called Brad Haddin for two off a stroke to midwicket. Yuvraj’s throw came to Vinay Kumar at the bowling end. Haddin scraped through. But Bailey stood in the middle of the pitch watching Haddin. Vinay was alive to the run-out, threw the ball to MS Dhoni and caught Bailey well short. And thus began Australia’s end.
Moment # 4—Ravindra Jadeja landed the ball on the length. Clint McKay lunged forward. The ball spun past his prod and knocked back the off-stump. It ended an incredible fightback led by McKay and James Faulkner—115 for the ninth wicket in the blink of an eye. Faulkner, who’d raced to a 57-ball hundred, swung the next ball to midwicket, where Shikhar Dhawan ran to his left to complete a great catch under pressure. With it, India had beaten Australia in a full bilateral series for the first time since 1986.
“Rohit may be just warming up,” were Matthew Hayden’s ominous words on air when he got to his hundred. Rohit had pulled his own weight in the game. Now he had to pull Virat, Yuvraj and Raina’s weight. India seemed headed for about 300. That would have been a woefully small score for this venue. But to finish with a personal double hundred only 12 overs later, taking the team to 383, was stupendous.
Shortly after Shikhar Dhawan departed having obliged us with another delightful innings and Kohli’s run-out, Rohit started dealing in sixes. He had laboured to 50 in 71 balls. It’d have been a perfectly paced innings had it been in the company of a quick-scoring partner. But with Kohli and Dhawan gone, Rohit took the big-hitting upon himself.
In a span of 13 balls, he hit five sixes, targeting the arc between long-off and mid-wicket. Every one of them was cleanly struck, speeding him towards a ton in 113 balls.
DHONI JOINS THE PARTY
Dhoni, as he loves to do, took his time to get going today. But when the time came, out came his big shots. In one over from James Faulkner, he hit two memorable sixes. One was an effortless scoop over point. The next was a mighty helicopter shot that cleared the pavilion roof. But all this seemed mild compared to Rohit at the other end.
Rohit had struck seven sixes in his first hundred. He should have been caught attempting his eighth but the ball slipped through Moises Henriques’ fingers at deep square leg. There was no mercy afterwards.
He took two fours and a six off Clint McKay to pass 150 in the 46th over. Then he wrecked Xavier Doherty’s nice figures by hitting him for three sixes and two fours in the 47th.
He then tapped Nathan Coulter-Nile for a six and four to move into the 190s. There was an inevitability of the upcoming milestone. Rohit casually deposited McKay over cover for six to pass 200 and concluded his innings with another six over midwicket. It was his 16th six of the game, surpassing Shane Watson’s record. India had added 151 runs in their last 10 overs. Hundred of those came in the last five alone.
MAXWELL, WATSON HIT BACK
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed delivered the ideal start for India. Shami had Aaron Finch LBW second ball. Both pacers presented an upright seam, targeted full lengths and managed to hold Australia to just 46 in their first 10 overs.
Ravichandran Ashwin was India’s best bowler of the day, mixing his length and pace beautifully. He began dismissing Phil Hughes first ball, a miscue to midwicket. Ashwin dismissed Brad Haddin with a classic off-spinner that turned in through the gate to knock the top of off-stump.
Haddin’s fall brought out Glen Maxwell, who smashed seven sixes en route to fifty in just 18 balls, the second fastest in ODIs. It wasn’t a pace he could sustain, holing out on 60.
Shane Watson then smashed a quick 49 with six sixes. Watson had an injury in his front leg, incurred while bowling. His innings met a strange end when he chopped Ravindra Jadeja on to Dhoni’s thigh and the ball popped up for an easy catch to short third-man. Thus began the Faulkner-McKay show.
FAULKNER BLAZES AWAY
James Faulkner and Clint McKay produced the most unexpected fight-back, adding 115 runs in quick time for the ninth wicket. It was largely Faulkner’s doing. At the point the resistance had passed fifty runs, McKay’s contribution was zero.
Faulkner completed a hundred in 57 balls, a new record for Australia, beating Matthew Hayden’s 66-ball effort in the 2007 World Cup. It was Vinay Kumar he continually targetted. The pacer went for 102 runs in nine overs—the worst for his country, with three of his overs costing more than 20.
Vinay kept length ball after length ball. And Faulkner kept depositing them into the stands with scary regularity. With the four fielder rule, McKay and Faulkner were doing getting close to the target rather easily. But on came Jadeja, the No.1 ODI bowler, to clean up McKay. And all of India breathed easy.