India clinches 4-1 series win against Australia

SansadTV Bureau

Rohit Sharma achieved a memorable milestone with his classy century as India outplayed Australia by seven wickets in the fifth ODI to seal the series 4-1 and cement their number one spot in the ICC rankings.

Rohit (125) and Ajinkya Rahane (61) set up the comprehensive win with a 124-run stand, their third century stand in a row, before the former shared a 99-run partnership with captain Virat Kohli (39) to take the team on the cusp of a big victory.

Chasing a modest 243, India eventually got home in 42.5 overs with Manish Pandey hitting the winning four.

Rohit not only completed his 14th ODI ton,but also became the ninth Indian to reach the 6000-run mark in ODIs.

The comfortable chase complemented the good work done by the bowlers, who were able to restrict Australia to a below par 242 despite a promising  start by David Warner (53) and Aaron Finch (32).

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel stood out among the Indian bowlers with figures of three for 38 in 10 overs.

With the emphatic series win, India also avenged the 1-4 series defeat the last time they played in Australia.

India got home rather comfortably but batting was not easy on the newly laid surface which became slower as the day progressed.

Rohit and Rahane played some sublime strokes. Rohit hit 10 fours and three sixes including the one he hit to get to his hundred.

Rohit Sharma gets the Man of the Match award for his knock of 125 off 109 balls #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/DQuqrSrGps

Rahane was deeply disappointed to get out in the 23rd over despite his fourth successive fifty. He got to play all five games in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

After Rahane’s dismissal, Rohit and Kohli took the team closer to the finishing line but both perished while trying to clear the fence.

Earlier, Australia once again failed to build on a promising start provided by Warner and Finch.

Patel bowled a tidy spell, ending with his second best figures in ODIs while Jasprit Bumrah (2/51) bounced back brilliantly in the death overs after giving away 34 runs in his first four overs.

India, who gave match practice to their reserve pacers – Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami —  in the previous game, went into the middle with a full strength squad. In the spin department, spinner Axar Patel took the field alongside Kuldeep Yadav as Yuzvendra Chahal was unwell.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was fairly accurate his first spell but Bumrah paid the price for being erratic.

Such was Finch’s onslaught that Australia reached 60 for no loss in 10 overs after they had scored just 21 in the first five. The two big-hitters were once again successful in providing their team a good start after Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat for third game in a row.  Their 66-run stand came after their monumental 231-run effort in Bengaluru.

The spin trio of Patel, Kuldeep Yadav (0/48) and part- timer Kedar Jadhav (1/48) then stemmed the flow of runs.

It was also the first time Jadhav bowled his full quota of 10 overs.

Jadhav was impressive and besides keeping things tight, took the prized wicket of Smith, leaving Australia at 100 for two in the 20th over.

Two quick wickets, Warner and Peter Handscomb, followed the captain’s dismissal triggering a middle-order collapse. Soon the visitors found themselves under severe pressure at 118 for four in the 25th over.

Travis Head (42) and Marcus Stoinis (46) steadied the innings with an 87-run stand off 112 balls but got out just when they looked set to push the scoring rate. Eventually, the visitors could only muster 52 runs in the last 10 overs, setting a modest target of 243.

(With inputs from PTI)