After a gap of two games, the India vs Australia ODI series resumed to see yet another run feast that saw India chase down a score of 350 plus for the second time in the tournament.
India chased down a target of 351 with 6 wickets to spare and squared the series at 2-2 with the decider to be played at Bangalore. The Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan made a stunning hundred and Virat Kohli scored his 17th ton to take India home in yet another massive chase.
The Indian openers laid down the perfect platform with a 178-run partnership and the middle order, led by Virat Kohli, finished off the job with brutal panache.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started off cautiously and fended off the early threat of Mitchell Johnson. However, the openers went into overdrive when the spinners were introduced and took full toll of the part timers. While Rohit Sharma played the anchor’s role to perfection, Shikhar Dhawan was at his devastating best.
The Indian opening pair drove, cut and pulled with freedom as the Australian bowling lacked spite and posed no challenge what so ever. Shikhar Dhawan took a liking to the pace of Clint McKay and Johnson while Rohit Sharma tore apart Glen Maxwell and Xavier Doherty.
The Mumbai batsman lost his wicket after scoring 79 to a rank long hop Aaron Finch and that brought Virat Kohli to the crease. Kohli, who has been in stunning form with 3 fifties and a hundred to his credit, looked in ominous touch and unleashed his full repertoire from the very first ball.
He was severe on the spinners and tore into Mitch Johnson by blasting 15 runs of one of his overs. The Australian pacer, however, mounted a comeback as he knocked over Suresh Raina (16) and Yuvraj Singh (0) in the same over.
However, that didn’t stop Kohli from taking India past the line. He stayed unbeaten on 115 off 66 balls along with MS Dhoni (25) to knock off the rest of the runs with three balls to spare.
Earlier, MS Dhoni won the toss and asked the Australians to bat first. Bhuvneshwar Kumar made it back to the Indian eleven and Amit Mishra made his debut at home after 10 years of his international debut.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar drew first blood when he had Phil Hughes caught by Virat Kohli at square leg and then R. Ashwin had Aaron Finch castled of the very first ball of his over. At 47/2, India looked in charge and would have gained over Australia had Ravindra Jadeja not over stepped the line. Shane Watson, batting at 25, top edged faster one from Jadeja and was caught by Rohit Sharma at covers but the television replay showed that Jadeja forgot to land his foot behind the line.
That started off the best partnership of the Australia. Captain George Bailey, who has been in sensational form this series, notched up his 2nd ODI hundred and Shane Watson, who has been struggling with the bat, went on to hit his 4th ODI ton.
The two Aussies toyed with the Indian bowling and strung together a partnership of 168 runs in just 23 overs. The Indian spinners suffered badly as Watson and Bailey gave them the charge while the pacers looked ordinary with their same old length bowling.
Watson was finally removed by Md. Shami and that put Bailey into fourth gear. The Australian captain unleashed an onslaught on the Indian bowlers to bring up his 150 and added 120 runs in just 13 overs along with Adam Voges.
Bailey was finally sent back by Jadeja for 153 when he failed to clear long off and held out to Virat Kohli. However, that didn’t stop Australia to reach 350 as Adam Voges kept up the momentum with a neat 44 of just 38 deliveries.
Among the Indian bowlers, everyone except Bhuvneshwar Kumar went above six an over with Amit Mishra going for 78 in his 10 and Shami conceding 66 in his 8. Jadeja picked up two wickets and became the third Indian left spinner to get to a 100 ODI wickets after Ravi Shastri and Yuvraj Singh.
A win here for India levels the series and the last game at Bangalore on the 3rd of November becomes the series decider.