BANGALORE - The way the India-Australia one-day series played, concluded and won by India on Saturday, it was ridiculously hilarious. Riding on Rohit Sharma’s record-breaking 209, India registered their first bilateral ODI series win at home against Australia as they crushed the visitors by 57 runs in the seventh one-day international.
It is an indictment of how skewed the contest between bat and ball has become that for 2961 ODIs, no batsman broke the 200-run barrier and now three have done it in the last 467 matches. Rohit Sharma was the latest entrant to the club, after Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, and he hit 16 sixes - a world record - during a ransacking of Australia in the deciding match of a series that bowlers on both sides will be glad to leave behind. Incredibly, Australia lost because they were out of wickets and not time.
India hit 19 sixes in a ground having 60 metre boundaries as they racked up 383; Australia replied with 326, the ninth time in 11 innings that a team passed 300 this series. And though they lost by a sizeable margin in the end, they did not lose the six-hitting contest. Australia’s 19 blows over the Chinnaswamy Stadium’s tiny boundaries helped smash the record for the most sixes in a one-day international. India and New Zealand had hit 31 in Christchurch in 2009; India and Australia hit a numbing 38 today. Vinay Kumar’s 1 for 102 in nine overs were the worst figures by an Indian in an ODI; two Australians were close to owning the record for the quickest 50 by an Australian, and James Faulkner’s 57-ball 100 was his country’s fastest century. It was hard to make sense of it all.
James Faulkner (116), Glenn Maxwell (60) and Shane Watson (49) kept the visitors hope alive with some power-hitting but they came short of the huge target. Australia were bundled out for 326 in 45.1 overs. Faulkner in the process broke the Mathew Hayden’s record of 66-ball century as he raced to his maiden ton off just 57 balls.
Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (2-51), Ravindra Jadeja (3-73) and pacer Mohammed Shami (3-52) were the pick of the Indian bowlers as they shared eight Australian wickets among them. There were raining sixes in the match with as many as 38 maximums hit in the game, including 16 sixes by Rohit alone - an ODI record. Faulkner kept Aussies hopes alive till the end with some fiery shots as he added quick 115-run stand for the ninth wicket with Clint McKay.
Faulkner raced to his maiden ODI hundred off just 57 balls - fastest by an Australian batsman - as he hoick five sixes and eleven boundaries. Chasing a massive 384-run target, Australia lost wickets at regular intervals. Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Shane Watson, who was blazing all guns, to virtually end Australia’s chance in the match. Watson smacked six sixes and two boundaries in his quick-fire 22-ball 49 and added rapid 67 runs with James Faulkner for the seventh wicket.
Pacer Vinay Kumar provided India an important breakthrough when he dismissed dangerous Glenn Maxwell (60) in the 23rd over to reduce the visitors to 138/6 in 22.2 overs.
Maxwell was in his aggressive best as he smashed seven sixes and three fours in his whirlwind 22-ball knock. In the process, Maxwell equaled the record of fastest fifty by an Australian in 18 balls. Maxwell also added valuable 58 runs for the fifth wicket with Adam Voges.
Voges (4) became the second victim of pacer Mohd Shami, who clean bowled the batsman in the 22nd over. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin clean bowled Brad Haddin (40) to reduce Australia to 74/4 in 16.5 overs. Haddin, who hit seven fours, was leading the visitors’ fightback before he missed the Ashwin delivery. But the biggest blow for Aussies came in the previous over (16th) when they lost their big hitting in-form skipper George Bailey (4). Bailey was run out after a mixed-up with Haddin.
Australia lost Phillip Hughes (23) and Aaron Finch (5) early against India. Ashwin dismissed Hughes in the thirteenth over to reduce Australia to 64/2 in 12.1 overs, after the southpaw added 57 runs with Haddin to lead the visitors’ fightback. Pacer Mohd Shami gave the hosts early breakthrough, when he got rid of Finch in the second over. Earlier, Rohit Sharma blasted his way into the record books with a breathtaking 209 that included a record 16 sixes which propelled India to a mammoth 383 for six.
The immensely talented Sharma thus became only third batsman in the history of ODI cricket after Virender Sehwag (219) and Sachin Tendulkar (200 n.o.) to reach the coveted double ton. Enroute his 158-ball-209, Rohit created a world record by hitting as many as 16 sixes along with 12 fours. His 16 sixes bettered Shane Watson’s effort of 15 sixes against Bangladesh in an ODI match.
This was also the highest individual ODI score by any batsman against Australia in ODIs as well as being India’s highest team total against the visitors. The last five overs produced an unbelievable 101 runs. While Rohit scored his first 100 off 114 balls, the next hundred came off only 42 deliveries. All the sixes were clean straight hits in the arc between deep extra-cover and deep mid-wicket. There was minimum muscle and maximum timing in each and every six that he hit.
Put into bat by the Australian skipper George Bailey, the home team rode on Rohit’s brilliant batting display which was complemented by his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan (60) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who batted in his customary style smacking a 38-ball-62 with seven fours and two sixes. Rohit and Dhoni added a staggering 167 runs for the fifth wicket in only 15.4 overs at an average of 10.65 while the opening partnership again proved to be productive yielding 112 runs.
The men who missed out included Virat Kohli (0) and the two horribly out-of-form players Yuvraj Singh (12) and Suresh Raina (28). While another in-form batsman Kohli was run-out for duck without scoring and looked angry, the Delhi star was the most vocal in his applause when Rohit reached his individual milestones.
Having got a second wind after being promoted as an opener, Rohit also completed 1000 runs in ODIs this year at a very impressive average of 50 plus. This is Rohit’s third big score in the current apart from his match-winning 141 at Jaipur and 79 in the last game at Nagpur.
R Sharma c sub b McKay 209
S Dhawan lbw b Doherty 60
V Kohli run out 0
S Raina lbw b Doherty 28
Yuvraj Singh c Haddin b Faulkner 12
MS Dhoni run out 62
R Jadeja not out 0
EXTRAS: (lb5, w7) 12
TOTAL: (6 wickets; 50 overs) 383
FOW: 1-112, 2-113, 3-185, 4-207, 5-374, 6-383
BOWLING: C McKay 10-0-89-1, N Coulter-Nile 10-0-80-0, J Faulkner 10-0-75-1, S Watson 5-0-26-0, X Doherty 10-0-74-2, G Maxwell 4-0-32-0, A Finch 1-0-2-0
A Finch lbw b Shami 5
P Hughes c Yuvraj b Ashwin 23
B Haddin b Ashwin 40
G Bailey run out 4
A Voges b Shami 4
G Maxwell c Jadeja b Vinay 60
J Faulkner c Dhawan b Shami 116
S Watson c Shami b Jadeja 49
N Coulter-Nile c Kohli b Jadeja 3
C McKay b Jadeja 18
X Doherty not out 0
EXTRAS: (lb1, w2, nb1) 4
TOTAL: (10 wkts; 45.1 overs) 326
FOW: 1-7, 2-64, 3-70, 4-74, 5-132, 6-138, 7-205, 8-211, 9-326, 10-326
BOWLING: B Kumar 8-1-47-0, M Shami 8.1-0-52-3, Vinay Kumar 9-0-102-1, R Ashwin 10-0-51-2, R Jadeja 10-0-73-3
TOSS: Australia, who chose to field
UMPIRES: N Llong (Eng), S Ravi