Rohit, Kohli punish Aussie stars as India win series

By ScoreLine Desk - January 21, 2020

India have ended Australia’s hopes of back-to-back ODI series wins in the country with a seven-wicket victory in Bengaluru despite a batting masterclass from Steve Smith.

Smith scored 131 in Australia’s 9-286 on Sunday night, before a Rohit Sharma century saw India chase down the target with 15 balls to spare and take the three-match series 2-1.

The Aussies were barely in the contest in the second innings, as Ashton Agar took 1-38 off 10 overs and Adam Zampa 1-44 but the quicks all went for big runs.

Pat Cummins had one of the worst days of his ODI career with 0-64 from seven overs, while Mitchell Starc also went at 7.3 an over.

Josh Hazlewood was more impressive with 1-55 in his first ODI in 14 months.

But after Agar dismissed KL Rahul for 19, Rohit and Virat Kohli put on a show.

Sharma notched up his eighth one-day century against Australia to finish on 119 from 128 balls, while Kohli also hit 89 before being bowled by Hazlewood.

Australia were most left to rue a poor end to their own batting innings, where no-one could go with Smith.

The former captain hit 36 from 21 balls in the final 10 overs, while his teammates contributed just 22 from 39 balls in the same period.

Ashton Turner scored four from 10 balls, while Agar went at less than a run a ball for his 11no.

Australia’s desire to find a way to up the ante was also exemplified when Mitchell Starc was moved up to No.5 and ahead of Alex Carey, Turner and Agar as a pinch hitter in the 32nd over.

The experiment failed as he scored a third-ball duck, but it highlighted the Aussies’ concerns in the area after dropping Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis after poor World Cups.

Meanwhile, Smith also had to brush aside a mix up with Aaron Finch, as the Aussie captain was run out for 19 after both mean found themselves at the same end of the pitch.

But while there were issues at the other end, Smith never lost his composure to post his first ODI century in three years.

He played gloriously all around the ground and became the fourth-fastest Australian to 4000 ODI runs along the way before he hold out off Mohammad Shami in the 48th over.

Smith combined in a 127-run stand with Marnus Labuschagne, who again looked busy for his 54 from 64, while Carey hit 35 from 36.

But the target never looked like being enough on a batter-friendly wicket, as India cruised home with regular opener Shikhar Dhawan nursing an injured shoulder.

It marks Australia’s first loss in a bilateral series since last January, and ended their chances of becoming the first team in a decade to win back-to-back ODI series in India.

By ScoreLine Desk

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