BENGALURU: Rohit Sharma smashed a scintillating century and Virat Kohli starred in another successful chase as India beat Australia by seven wickets in the final one-dayer on Sunday to complete a 2-1 series victory.
Steve Smith’s first ODI hundred in three years had propelled Australia to 286-9, although the tourists at one stage looked set for a 300-plus total at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Rohit’s 119 laid the foundation for India’s chase and Kohli made 89 as three premier batsmen of their era shone in a mouthwatering contest.
Earlier, Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bat but the touring side did not get the strong start they expected from their openers.
David Warner fell cheaply and Finch ran himself out after an almighty mix-up with Smith as both finished up at the same end.
Smith redeemed himself with a typically fluent knock, adding 127 runs with the in-form Marnus Labuschagne (54), before wickets started tumbling at the other end.
Kohli took a stunning one-handed catch to send back Labuschagne and Mitchell Starc, promoted in the order as a pinch-hitter, fell in the same Ravindra Jadeja over.
Smith could not be denied his ninth ODI century, however, and the prolific Australian made a run-a-ball 131 before holing out in the deep.
Jasprit Bumrah bowled with characteristic parsimony and Mohammed Shami (4-63) produced a string of yorkers to hurt Australia who lost their last five wickets for 51 runs.
India suffered a blow before beginning their chase with opener Shikhar Dhawan hobbling off after hurting his shoulder while fielding.
K.L. Rahul, who batted at numbers three and five in the last two matches, made 19 opening the innings with Rohit whose 137-run stand with Kohli put India on course for victory.
Fed juicy half-trackers by the Australian spinners, Rohit smacked half a dozen sixes in his 29th ODI century.
The elegant right-hander, named 2019 ODI Player of the Year last week, also completed 9000 ODI runs in his 224th match.
Kohli occasionally struggled to read Adam Zampa’s googly but kept India on course after Rohit’s departure.
Shreyas Iyer made a brisk 44 not out to help India home with 15 balls to spare as the hosts, thumped by 10 wickets in the first game, came from behind to win the series.
D.A. Warner c Rahul b Shami 3
A.J. Finch run out 19
S.P.D. Smith c Iyer b Shami 131
M. Labuschagne c Kohli b Jadeja 54
M.A. Starc c sub b Jadeja 0
A.T. Carey c Iyer b Kuldeep 35
A.J. Turner c Rahul b Saini 4
A.C. Agar not out 11
P.J. Cummins b Shami 0
A. Zampa b Shami 1
J.R. Hazlewood not out 1
EXTRAS (LB-14, W-13) 27
TOTAL (for nine wkts, 50 overs) 286
FALL OF WKTS: 1-18, 2-46, 3-173, 4-173, 5-231, 6-238, 7-273, 8-276, 9-282.
BOWLING: Bumrah 10-0-38-0 (4w); Mohammed Shami 10-0-63-4 (4w); Saini 10-0-65-1; Kuldeep Yadav 10-0-62-1 (1w); Jadeja 10-1-44-2.
R.G. Sharma s Starc b Zampa 119
K.L. Rahul lbw b Agar 19
V. Kohli b Hazlewood 89
S.S. Iyer not out 44
M.K. Pandey not out 8
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-8) 10
TOTAL (for three wkts, 47.3 overs) 289
FALL OF WKTS: 1-69, 2-206, 3-274.
DID NOT BAT: S. Dhawan, R.A. Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, N.A. Saini, J.J. Bumrah.
BOWLING: Cummins 7-0-64-0 (1w); Starc 9-0-66-0 (2w); Hazlewood 9.3-1-55-1 (1w); Agar 10-0-38-1; Zampa 10-0-44-1; Labuschagne 1-0-11-0; Finch 1-0-9-0.
RESULT: India won by seven wickets to win three-match series
UMPIRES: V.K. Sharma (India) and M.A. Gough (England).
TV UMPIRE: R.A. Kettleborough (England).
MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Madugalle (Sri Lanka).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Rohit Sharma.
MAN-OF-THE-SERIES: Virat Kohli.
FIRST MATCH: Mumbai, Australia won by 10 wickets.
SECOND MATCH: Rajkot, India won by 36 runs.
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2020