Opener Rohit Sharma (119) hit a confident century while skipper Virat Kohli made 89 as India humbled Australia by seven wickets in the series-deciding third ODI to claim the series 2-1, in Bengaluru on Sunday (January 19).
Chasing 287 to win, India overhauled the target with 15 balls to spare at the M Chinnaswamy stadium with Sharma reaching another milestone after he became the third-fastest batsman to reach 9,000 ODI runs.
He took 217 innings to reach the landmark while his captain Kohli still retains the top spot with 9,000 runs in 194 innings. AB de Villiers is the second fastest, having reached there in 208 innings. Besides Rohit and Kohli, the other Indians who have crossed the 9000-run mark are Sachin Tendulkar (18,426 runs), Saurav Ganguly (11,221), Rahul Dravid (10,768) Mahendra Singh Dhoni (10,599) and Mohammed Azharuddin (9,378).
During the chase, Kohli broke two-time World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s world record of fastest to 5000 runs by a skipper in ODI cricket.
Dhoni managed to score 5000 runs as skipper in 127 innings but Kohli achieved the feat in just 82.
Young batsman Shreyas Iyer, who scored unbeaten 44, completed the win in the company of Manish Pandey (8) who entered the playing XI as a replacement for the injured Rishabh Pant.
During the Australian innings, Indian pacers took control of the game from the very start and bowled extraordinary spells with the new ball on a dry pitch.
The tourists lost their last six wickets for 51 runs as the bowling combination of Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Navdeep Saini attacked them with yorkers and kept it tight till the end.
Shami (4/63 in 10) made a mark by dismantling the Australian openers David Warner (3), Aaron Finch (19) and sent Adam Zampa (1) and Pat Cummins (0) back to the dressing room in the death overs, restricting the Aussies to reach their desired 300+ target.
However, during the middle-overs Steve Smith (131 off 132) and Marnus Labuschagne (54 off 64) set a much-needed steady partnership of 172 runs.
Alongside Shami, Kuldeep Yadav contributed to India’s major breakthrough by taking Smith’s wicket after he recorded his 9th century. Spinner Ravindra Jadeja used the change of pace well in his favour and picked up two wickets in quick succession.
Down the order, Alex Carey contributed 35 runs though he could not make the most of his start.
While India named an unchanged team, Australia brought in pacer Josh Hazlewood in place of Kane Richardson in the 1-1 series decider.
Members of the Indian cricket team took to the field sporting black arm-bands to honour former all-rounder Bapu Nadkarni, who died earlier this week.
Nadkarni, a left-handed batsman, and slow-left arm orthodox bowler played 41 Tests in which he scored 1414 runs and grabbed 88 wickets with 6/43 as his best bowling figures. He shot to fame after he bowled 21 successive maidens.
Meanwhile, Senior opener Shikhar Dhawan was taken off the field after he hurt his left shoulder while diving to save an Aaron Finch shot in the cover region in the fifth over. The 34-year-old had not taken the field for the entire duration of the Australian innings in the second ODI after a Pat Cummins bouncer hit him on the rib cage while batting.
Dhawan was seen cheering his teammates from the dressing room since he couldn’t take to the field during the Indian innings and Rahul was sent to open for the squad.
Australia won the toss for the third time in a row but unlike the last game in Rajkot, opted to bat. Kohli decided to go in with the winning combination of the last game even though Rishabh Pant was available for selection.
India had lost the series-opener in Mumbai before levelling the series in Rajkot.
Australia: 286 for 7 in 50 overs. (S Smith 131, M Labuschagne 54; M Shami 4/63, R Jadeja 2/44).
India: 289 for 3 in 47.3 overs. (R Sharma 119, V Kohli 89; A Agar 1/38, A Zampa 1/44).