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Report: India vs Australia – 6th ODI

Shikhar, Virat chase 350-plus for India. Again.

Shikhar, Virat chase 350-plus for India. Again.

No, it wasn’t the repeat telecast of the second ODI, in Jaipur. India indeed chased down a 350-plus total for the second time in the series. And yes, it was Shikhar Dhawan (100 off 102) and Virat Kohli’s (115* off 66) centuries that got them home again. India’s sensational batting gave them a six-wicket win in Nagpur and a chance to win the series in Bengaluru.

Dhawan, taking his love affair with Australia to a new level, strolled his way to his fourth ODI hundred. With his fifth consecutive 50-plus ODI score, the colour purple of Virat’s form became a tinge richer and deeper.

During his 178-run opening stand with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar batted exactly according to the needs of the chase – he was solid yet attacking and took calculated risks. The left-hander scored most of his boundaries flicking and cutting the ball. He also played the odd sweep and paddle sweep to the spinners. Australia’s changed bowling plans meant Dhawan didn’t get many chances to play his favourite pull shot.

Rohit Sharma (79 off 89) was the slower partner. As Shikhar went about keeping the scorers busy, Rohit took his time to settle in. Just when he started to up the ante – he hit Glenn Maxwell for two sixes in an over – he threw his wicket away by lobbing an Aaron Finch half tracker to the man at deep midwicket.

Dhawan continued to score runs – the authoritative ones and the cheeky ones. He drove with panache, swept with shrewdness and cut with skill. More importantly, he ran between the wickets industriously, maintaining the run-a-ball equation right through his innings. With Virat, Dhawan put on 56 for the second wicket. After facing his 101st ball, Dhawan put his bat down, pumped his fists and stretched his arms. The Indian dressing room erupted and Virat gave him a warm hug. Shikhar Dhawan had just scored his fourth ODI century. The joy didn’t last long, as he got castled by James Faulkner next ball.

It was time for Virat to take over, and he did. As has been his wont, there wasn’t one ugly slog in his knock, only beautiful shots. He lost Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh – both were Mitchell Johnson’s victims – and was joined by MS Dhoni.

Being asked to bat, the Australian openers got off to a solid start on the slow Nagpur wicket. Both Phil Hughes and Aaron Finch targeted Mohammad Shami, taking him for five boundaries in two overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who returned to the team after sitting out the Ranchi ODI, bowled first spell of five overs, giving away 15 runs for the wicket of Hughes – caught at square leg off a short ball.

R Ashwin, introduced into the attack in the 12th over, castled Finch off his first ball with a straight and full delivery. Shane Watson (102 off 94 balls) and captain, George Bailey (156 off 114 balls), began the reconstruction of the Aussie innings from there, putting on 168 runs for the third wicket.

Both batsmen had their share of luck. Jadeja had Watson caught by Rohit in the 17th over off a no-ball. Bailey mistimed the following free-hit at midwicket. When it happened, Watson was on 25 and Bailey was on 10.

Watson, who was having a quiet series, batted himself in and used the loose balls to score boundaries off. Once settled in, he brought out the big shots against the Indian spinners. Amit Mishra got smashed for two fours and sixes each while Jadeja was taken for a six and a four in an over. Watson had done the hard work and now it was time to reap rewards. It took him seven balls to go from 81 to 102. He hit Shami with three consecutive fours, the last one – a full-toss on the pads – bringing up his century. The next ball, a full, incoming delivery, dismantled the stumps behind Watson.

Bailey, however, continued the slaughtering of Indian bowlers, now in the company of Adam Voges. Once again showing his brilliant ability of building his innings, the Aussie skipper cut loose when the spinners came into the attack – four of his five sixes came against them. He was harsh on India’s most economical bowler, Bhuvneshwar, scoring four boundaries off him. He brought up his second ODI century in the 41st over, in 84 balls. Once he got past the three-figure mark, Bailey batted more freely, making the most of the slog overs. Thanks to him, Australia scored 99 runs in the last 10 overs.

Of India’s bowlers, Bhuvneshwar was the only one with an economy rate below six. And he bowled only eight overs. Ashwin (2 for 64) and Jadeja (2 for 68) too did decently.

Man of the Match: Virat Kohli for his 66-ball unbeaten knock of 115 runs.



Ranji Trophy 2013-14: Round-up, Oct 30

Tendulkar’s 79 guides Mum to victory

Tendulkar’s 79 guides Mum to victory

With a well-compiled unbeaten 79-run knock, Sachin Tendulkar helped Mumbai to an outright win against Haryana to begin the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 season on a winning note. Punjab, Maharashtra and Saurashtra were among the other teams to post thumping victories in their opening games on the last day of the opening round. Here is the round-up for Day 4 of the first round: 

Group A 

Haryana vs Mumbai: Requiring only 39 runs with four wickets in hand on the last day, Mumbai were guided to an outright win by Sachin Tendulkar on a testing wicket in Lahli. The master batsman took the team across the line with an unbeaten 79 and was ably supported by lower-order bat Dhawal Kulkarni (16*) during the chase to post a four-wicket victory in the opening game of the season.

Mumbai gained six points from the win.

Odisha vs Punjab: Punjab posted a thumping innings and 48-run win over Odisha at the PCA Stadium in Mohali and gained seven points from the win. They bowled the visitors out for 307 on the fourth day.

Earlier, resuming on 110 for two, they lost N Behere with 143 on the board, while Govind Podder (70) followed him back four runs later. Although Abhilash Mallick rallied on to make 73 and Basant Mohanty resisted with 41 runs lower down the order, they couldn’t deny the home team an outright win.

Sandeep Sharma and Harbhajan Singh claimed three wickets each in the innings, while S Kaul and MS Gony picked two apiece.

Vidarbha vs Gujarat: Gujarat won by an innings and a run and collected seven points from the match. 

Jharkhand vs Delhi: Match Abandoned without a ball being bowled

Group B 

Saurashtra vs Rajasthan: After their batsmen posted 475 on the board, the Saurashtra bowlers ran through the Rajasthan line-up twice to bowl the team to an innings and 31-run win. While Rajesh Bishnoi posted a century, the rest of the lower order caved in to the Saurashtra bowlers. Following on, they were bowled out for 308 in the second innings. DA Jadeja finished with a four-for in the innings, while Abhishek Bhatt took two and the rest of the bowlers, except Jaydev Shah, chipped in with a scalp each.

Tamil Nadu vs SSCB: Tamil Nadu gained three points on the basis of their first-innings lead from their drawn encounter against Services.

Earlier, resuming on 245 for five, services were bowled out for 346 in the first innings on the fourth day, following which TN made 117 for five in their second innings, until the match was called off.

MPCA vs Railways: The game between MPCA and Railways finished in a draw with the former winning on the basis of their first-innings lead. Facing MPCA’s massive first-innings score of 510 for six declared, Railways were bowled out for 335 in the first innings and were 235 for six in the second when play ended on the fourth day.

Bengal vs Baroda: Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Group C 

Tripura vs Maharashtra: Maharashtra beat Tripura by nine wickets in the first round of the season.  Chasing a paltry 63 in the second innings, the home team sailed to victory in Pune.

Earlier, Tripura were bowled out for 218 after resuming on 28 for one. Sachin Chaudhari claimed seven wickets to help bundle the opposition out on the fourth day, while Shrikant Mundhe took three wickets.

Assam vs Kerala: In the drawn game in Guwahati, Kerala claimed three points on the basis of their first-innings lead, while Assam got one for their effort. The home team was 217 for nine in the second innings when play ended on the last day.

Himachal vs Goa: The match between HP and Goa was another first round match to end in a draw. Hosts Himachal, who had posted a mammoth score of 558 in the first innings, collected three points on the basis of their first-innings lead. After being bowled out for 243 in the first innings, the Goa batsmen batted with determination in the second innings to deny the home team an outright win. Resuming their second innings on 38 for no loss, centurions Amogh Desai (126) and Swapnil Asnodkar (109*) had helped the team to 282 for two when play stumps were called.