Nagpur :India displayed their invincible chasing skills for the second time in this series as they knocked down Australia’s imposing target of 351 in the last over to square the series 22.
Virat Kohli (115*, 66b, 18x4, 1x6) and Shikhar Dhawan (100, 102b, 11x4) were the architects of the six-wicket win. The series now moves to Bengaluru for a mouth-watering decider to be held on Saturday.
The foundation for the big chase was set by openers Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (79, 89b, 7x4, 3x6) with a 178-run partnership and Kohli cashed in on the strong start in company of Suresh Raina (16) and M.S. Dhoni (25 not out).
The crowd at Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium had seen India score a mammoth 354 against the same opposition in 2009 but that was in the first innings courtesy M.S. Dhoni’s 124. However on Wednesday, around 40,000 spectators were treated to one of the incredible chases in recent times.
Dhawan survived a close leg before call early and was dropped a couple of times before being involved in a fifth century opening stand with Rohit in the 19th over. Dhawan was crisp in his strokes and Rohit played sedately. Rohit tried to up the tempo with three sixes off Finch and Maxwell but he miscued one from Finch to be caught by sliding James Faulkner at deep midwicket as India’s first wicket fell in the 30th over.
Kohli was dominant as he contributed 40 in 56run partnership before Dhawan perished immediately after reaching his run-a-ball fourth ODI hundred.
Kohli dominated another 50run stand with Raina before the latter fell to a dubious decision. Yuvraj Singh flopped again as Mitchell Johnson and Faulkner generated pace and got some movement towards the end. But Kohli in company of Dhoni didn’t panic. He unleashed three boundaries in the 48th over to complete his 17th ODI hundred in 61 balls and make things easy for the hosts.
Earlier, the visitors rode on blistering tons from skipper George Bailey and Shane Watson to guide Australia to an imposing total of 350/6. Bailey scored his highest individual score of 156 (114b, 13x4, 6x6) while Watson after early struggle smashed 94-ball 102 (13x4, 3x6).
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