India rode a splendid double hundred from Rohit Sharma to go past Australia in the final ODI and clinch the 7 match series by the margin of 3-2. Rohit Sharma, who scored 209, lit up the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore with an outstanding display of batting and propelled India to a massive 384/5 in their fifty overs. Australia chased hard and reached 326 thanks to a century from James Faulkner but fell short by 57 runs handing India the game and the series.
The series, that has already seen a record number of 300 plus scores, witnessed history in the making as Rohit Sharma finally announced himself on the international stage as he brought up his second hundred of the series. Rohit Sharma became the third batsman in ODI history after Virender Sehwag (219) and Sachin Tendulkar (200*) to go past the landmark.
Australia won the toss and George Bailey invited India to bat on a batting paradise. Australia included Nathan Coulter-Nile in place of Mitchell Johnson and for India Vinay Kumar made a comeback on his home ground replacing Amit Mishra. The Indian openers got the team off to a brilliant start with Shikhar Dhawan going after the Australian bowling that lacked teeth in the absence of Mitchell Johnson.
Rohit Sharma played a more sedate role on the other end as the pair added 112 runs 19 overs before Shikhar Dhawan fell to Xavier Doherty for 60 handing him his first wicket of the series. That brought Virat Kohli, the captain of the Royal Challengers of Bangalore, to the crease but the Delhi dasher was sent back for a duck after a horrible mix up with Rohit Sharma. Kohli straight drove the ball and took off for a single while Sharma was ball watching. Kohli came too far down the wicket and was left stranded as Coulter-Nile threw the ball to Brad Haddin who removed the bails.
The departure of Kohli brought in Suresh Raina, who has had a pretty forgettable series till now. He started off well and looked comfortable because the Australian bowlers lacked the pace and was unable to rattle him with the short delivery. He added a valuable 72 runs with Rohit Sharma before he was trapped in front by Doherty for 28.
Yuvraj Singh’s struggle at the crease continued as he was brilliantly caught by Brad Haddin of James Faulkner for just 12 and Australia looked like gaining the upper hand with India 207/4. But Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni joined hands and took control of the Indian innings.
MS Dhoni started rotating the strike while Rohit Sharma changed gears to launch an assault on the Australian spinners. He danced down the track and tonked the spinners into the stands providing the much needed impetus to the Indian innings. In the process, he went past his 4th ODI hundred and then notched up the heat with some outrageous hitting.
He cut, pulled, drove and flicked with elan and hit a record 16 sixes in the innings. He went past Shane Watson‘s record of 15 sixes in an innings against Bangladesh and also broke Dhoni’s record of most sixes by an Indian in an innings.
The bowlers looked clueless in front of his assault and the game went into a different level when MS Dhoni joined in the act. The Indian captain brought up his 49th 50 in ODIs and ripped apart the Australians with his full range of shots. The duo put on 167 runs in just 16 overs with the last five producing 101 of them.
The Australian chase was kept on track by a stunning hundred from James Faulkner. The tall all rounder scored the fastest hundred by an Australian in just 57 deliveries beating the record of Matthew Hayden. Faulker (116), added 115 runs with Clint McKay to take the chase as close as possible.
Australia was rocked early as they lost Aaron Finch to Md. Shami and then Phil Hughes was snapped up Ashwin for 23. They were badly stung as Shane Watson couldn’t bat due to a hamstring problem but it was the run out of in-form George Bailey that set Australia back. The Australian captain committed harakiri as he stood ball watching instead of getting back to his crease.
Brad Haddin, who was promoted in place of the injured Shane Watson, stuck around for a neat 40 before he was cleaned up by Ashwin but it was Glenn Maxwell who mounted the real charge as he plundered the second fastest fifty in ODI cricket. He scored 60 off just 22 ball and hit 7 sixes and 3 fours. He looked in murderous mood but Vinay Kumar ended his vigil when he was caught at the boundary.
The injured Shane Watson came in at 8 and took over from Maxwell. The big all rounder smashed Vinay Kumar all round the park and scored a blistering 49 from just 22 balls.
For India, Vinay Kumar conceded 105 runs in 9 overs. Shami picked up 2 wickets while Ashwin and Jadeja grabbed 2 and 3 scalps respectively.
The series win here sets up India beautifully for their home series against West Indies while the Australians will travel back home, heavy-hearted, to take on the English challenge in the Ashes series.