Rohit and Kohli lead the way as India clinch victory over Australia in series decider

By Sports Desk January 19, 2020

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli delivered sensational performances as they led India to a seven-wicket triumph over Australia, meaning the hosts clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1 despite Steve Smith's century in Bengaluru.

Smith's 131 and 54 from Marnus Labuschagne provided the highlights of Australia's innings after Aaron Finch elected to bat first, but India restricted their opponents to 286-9.

India were hampered by the loss of Shikhar Dhawan for their reply, the opener's shoulder injury casting his participation in the upcoming tour of New Zealand into doubt.

However, once Smith's resistance ended amid a flurry of late wickets, Rohit (119) and Kohli (89) guided their side to an emphatic win, completed with 15 balls to spare.

Dhawan had to leave the field early in Australia's innings and he was duly sent for an x-ray on his left shoulder, which he hurt while diving in the field.

By that stage India already had their tails up, with Mohammed Shami (4-63) having drawn David Warner (3) into a reckless shot outside off that yielded an edge behind to KL Rahul.

India had their second wicket soon after – a mix-up between Smith and Finch resulting in the latter being run out for 19.

Smith, with support from Labuschagne, made up for his mistake, the duo both working their way to half-centuries and propelling Australia to 173-2 midway through the 32nd over.

Ravindra Jadeja claimed the breakthrough wicket, though, with Kohli taking an excellent catch low to his right to dismiss Labuschagne, and the promoted Mitchell Starc fell to the same bowler three balls later.

From looking well poised, Australia were now on the back foot and, though Alex Carey (35) offered a decent cameo, the emphasis was all on Smith.

The 30-year-old – who had surpassed 4,000 ODI runs in the 34th over – brought up his ninth one-day hundred with a crisp single, and then let rip, hitting four boundaries before succumbing to Shami.

However, Australia were unable to get up to 300 as Shami also removed Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa at the death.

Despite being shorn of the injured Dhawan, India swiftly got into their stride in reply, Rohit looking in superb touch either side of the loss of Rahul (19) to Ashton Agar in the 13th over.

Rohit, who made 209 from 158 balls against Australia in Bengaluru seven years ago, set about targeting Ashton Agar and Labuschagne – who he hit for a huge six – as captain Kohli also clicked into gear.

A single to third man off Josh Hazlewood took Rohit to another glorious hundred, his eighth against Australia, and his sixth maximum brought up the century partnership before he finally fell to Zampa.

At that point, India needed just 81 from 13.2 overs and Shreyas Iyer (44 not out) quickly settled in alongside Kohli to make victory certain, despite the captain falling to Hazlewood with 13 still required.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: SA Rugby and Cricket South Africa get clearance to resume training Coronavirus: SA Rugby and Cricket South Africa get clearance to resume training

    SA Rugby and Cricket South Africa have welcomed the decision for players to be able to return to training as part of revised lockdown regulations in the country. 

    Nathi Mthethwa, minister for sports, arts and culture, announced the changes at a media briefing on Saturday, with non-contact sports cleared to resume both training and playing.  

    As for contact sports, Mthethwa revealed while reporting on the department’s COVID-19 sector relief fund that they will be able to go back in a staggered, controlled manner. 

    All professional teams now have 14 days to submit proposals to explain how they will ensure the safety of players and officials. 

    "This is the news sport has been waiting to hear as it allows us to begin to ramp up preparations for an eventual return to play," said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. 

    "We submitted a comprehensive, staged return-to-play protocols document to the department five weeks ago and we are ready to begin medical screening of players immediately. 

    "We will seek further clarity from the department on the application of the guidelines as they apply to contact training. 

    "But this is an opportunity for our players to enhance their lockdown training regimes by increasing their fitness work for an eventual return to play."

    South Africa’s cricketers can also now prepare to resume training again, though no individual will be forced to do so if they are not comfortable with the current situation.

    The updated conditions only apply to the professional game, too.

    "This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket," commented Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive Jacques Faul.  

    He added: “I have already had discussions with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) and I would like to stress that no player, coach, support staff or administrator will be forced to return to training if they are uncomfortable with it at this stage.”

  • Fanalysts swing from Gayle as panel chops ‘Mr Cricket’ Fanalysts swing from Gayle as panel chops ‘Mr Cricket’

    Fanalysts attempting to have their say in the makeup of SportsMax’s Ultimate XI One-Day International (ODI) XI have begun to come around to the idea of axing Chris Gayle from their team even as the Zone and a panel of experts have chopped the list of batsmen 3-5 in half.

    Yesterday, fans had been in agreement that Chris Gayle should be one of the openers in its Ultimate XI ODI team, but today, many of those minds have changed, with Gayle now trailing in the voting behind Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma, the two Indian batsmen the SportsMax Zone and the panel had agreed upon.

    Today the SportsMax Zone asked its panel of experts to cut its list of 12 players vying for the spot to six and despite the number of big names, there was ruthless efficiency in dismissing a number of greats.

    First to go was one of Pakistan’s most respected batsmen in Inzamum-ul-Haq, who statistics say, bat too slowly to compete with the all-time great middle-order batsmen.

    Inzy was competing against the likes of Australia’s Ricky Ponting, Michael Bevan and Mike Hussey, India’s Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, South Africa’s AB de Villiers, the west Indies’ Brian Lara and Sir Vivian Richards, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Aravinda de Silva, as well as New Zealand’s Ross Taylor.

    Joining Inzy in the dressing room are Dhoni, Bevan, Hussey, de Silva, and Taylor.

    Taylor was seen as the best from New Zealand but not a standout when compared to the other great middle-order batsmen of his era, while Dhoni was chopped, presumably because he is expected to compete favourably for a spot as the Ultimate XI’s wicketkeeper.

    Bevan and Hussey, despite great averages and the latter’s ‘Mr Cricket’ moniker, were seen as a little outclassed by the other batsmen, while de Silva boasted an average that was too low to compete with the others in the group.

    Tomorrow, the panel will discuss the merits and demerits, if there are any, from a group of Sangakarra, Ponting, Kohli, Lara, de Villiers, and Sir Viv.

    Remember, no matter what has happened so far, votes are still open for all positions and you can have your say by going to SportsMax.tv and clicking on the banner, or following the link here.

  • CWI agree in principle to tour England in July, awaits UK gov't approval CWI agree in principle to tour England in July, awaits UK gov't approval

    Cricket West Indies has agreed in principle to send a West Indies team to England for a three-Test series in July. The decision was arrived at during a meeting of the board on Thursday.

    The decision comes only after CWI medical and cricket-related representatives and advisors have been involved in detailed discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and their own medical and public health advisers over the past few weeks.

    These discussions involved the local and international logistics and protocols, which are already being put in place to minimize risk and optimize the health and safety of all concerned.  CWI has also received and reviewed detailed plans for players and staff to be kept in a bio-secure environment for the duration of the tour, with all matches being played “behind closed doors”.

    The CWI will now be awaiting the England Cricket Board who is to get approval from the UK Government sometime over the next few days.

    CWI’s management is also now in the process of seeking to put all of the approvals and logistics in place within the Caribbean, including seeking permission from the various governments to facilitate the movement of players and support staff, using private charter planes and conducting medical screenings and individual COVID-19 testing for all members of the touring party.

    “I would like to thank the CWI management, the Medical Advisory Committee, and the Financial Strategic Advisory Committee for their detailed and timely presentations given to the Board meeting,” said CWI President Ricky Skerritt.

    “In addition to our approval in principle of the proposed Test Tour of England, we made some significant financial management decisions that will be announced and implemented in due course.  The great detail to which the Board engaged in these matters is testimony to their urgency and importance, but it meant that we had to defer a few agenda items until next Wednesday (June 3), when we have scheduled to reconvene”.

    Most of Thursday’s lengthy meeting focused on discussing the initial short-term recommendations from the Financial Strategy Advisory Committee (FSAC), a special purpose committee that was put in place by CWI President Ricky Skerritt on April 2, 2020.

    The committee comprised a joint membership of Directors and Executive Management, all with significant financial management expertise, chaired by JCA President, Wilford “Billy” Heaven.

    The Board agreed to the committee’s business continuity plan of action, for how CWI would have to operate in order to survive its cash flow crisis, in the context of the debilitating economic uncertainties of the global pandemic COVID-19.

     

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.