India v Australia, 6th ODI, Nagpur October 30, 2013

Kohli, Dhawan gun down 350 again


50 overs India 351 for 4 (Kohli 115*, Dhawan 100, Rohit 79) beat Australia 350 for 6 (Bailey 156, Watson 102) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Push the boundaries, shift the goalposts, change vocabularies. Three hundred and fifty no longer inspires awe. Not when Indian batsmen are batting on flat Indian pitches surrounded by quick outfields with only four fielders outside the circle and two new balls to kill any chance of reverse swing. With Shikhar Dhawan's assured century at the top, and Virat Kohli's 61-ball one at No. 3 - the third-fastest by an Indian, challenging his own record of 52 balls - India became the first team to have chased down 350 or more twice, both of them in this series, and both without much frenzy.

The belief and the absolute absence of any slogging was remarkable once again, but India did face some nerves this time around. The match was doing a pretty fine job of retelling the Jaipur ODI story - Dhawan was dropped early, there was a big opening partnership, and Kohli was bursting through the target - when Dhawan played a rare low-percentage shot and exposed Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh. Mitchell Johnson duly removed them, and 62 off 48 required became 35 off 18 at one point.

Kohli, though, pulled out some of the most incredible shots of his innings, driving chest-high balls for fours wide of long-off, to take India through with three balls to spare. With this result the series remained alive, and George Bailey, who might have had reason to believe he had booked his Ashes spot with a 114-ball 156, will have to put in the drawer possible plans of going home early for Ashes preparation.

Alongside Bailey, adding 168 for the third wicket, was another Ashes candidate, Shane Watson, who scored a century. The two did seem to be struggling against spin, with Australia 89 for 2 after 22 overs, but Watson did enjoy some luck as Ravindra Jadeja overstepped when he edged a slog-sweep to point. Once Bailey started taking on the spinners, the wheels came off, India began to bowl poorly, and a colossal 261 runs came in the last 28 overs.

As the hitherto respectable figures of all the bowlers took a beating, Bailey reached a host of landmarks. He beat the records for most runs in a bilateral series by an Australian or a captain, becoming the second-fastest man to 1,500 runs, and overtaking Misbah-ul-Haq as the leading run-getter this year. In the end, he was left with a rueful smile, half marvelling at the quality of the batting, half resigned to the playing conditions and the pitch and the outfield.

MS Dhoni, although he won, shared the views about the lopsided nature of the contest, but at one level you can't take away from the composure Kohli, Dhawan and Rohit showed for a majority of the massive chase. It was as if they didn't acknowledge the enormity of the task of maintaining a run rate of seven an over for 50 overs. There was no anxiety, no need to hit out, even if Rohit - for example - struggled to find the gaps early in the innings.

Glenn Maxwell, who later took a diving catch at point off a free hit, will rue dropping an easy offering from Dhawan when the batsman was 19 off 22. Crisp shots and lovely placement remained the feature of the rest of the 178-run partnership as Rohit made up for a slow start with two sixes off Glenn Maxwell in the 29th over. He picked out deep midwicket off a long hop, but that only hastened the chase with Kohli's entry.

From the moment Kohli drove the fifth ball he faced for four through extra cover, he knew he was good for an encore of Jaipur. A few blinks later, the partnership for the second wicket was worth 50 runs, out of which Dhawan had scored just nine runs. Kohli was 40 off 26 then. Dhawan, who was cramping by the time he reached his hundred, walked across next ball, and was bowled, giving Australia an opening.

Before Australia could enter that opening, though, Kohli brought up his fifth consecutive score of fifty or more. He would soon make it a third consecutive year with 1000 runs or more. There would be a hiccup before the win, though. Johnson, who had been kept back for the middler order, was brought back on, and he accounted for Raina and Yuvraj in the same over.

Out came Dhoni, and India suddenly slowed down. James Faulkner and Johnson both began to get the ball to move away from the right-hand batsmen, and slowly the asking rate began to climb. Dhoni told Kohli to wait for Johnson to finish off, and that the big over can come in the last four. Johnson finished off with three overs to go and 35 to get.

Kohli had seen enough. His proximity to the hundred - his 11th in 64 chases, behind only Sachin Tendulkar's 17 in 242 attempts - didn't matter. He would charge down the wicket, the bowler would drop short, and he would still manage to drive him to wide long-off. When Australia plugged that gap, he began going wide long-on with similar success. Eventually the asking rate came down to a run a ball in the last over, and India were through with three balls to spare.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on October 31, 2013, 21:12 GMT


    First of all, why did you not answer my 1st point. Shall we erase Ponting's 140*? What about the 434 match? You don't owe it to me but are you unable to reply or what?

    To paraphrase you, ---"Any time Oz fans see a wicket with no grass, they call it a dustbowl"---.

    You think greentop wickets are some new kind of wicket just like spinning, fast, flat etc??? You don't know that any wicket can be turned into a green top in 6-8 week. Of course I am being pedantic about the term greentop but so are you. You can have a broken dustbowl greentop wicket too but such a wicket would be unfit cos it would be doubly dangerous for batsmen.

    Another related problem with your argument is that you don't know the difference between a flat wicket, a spinning wicket & a dustbowl. This lack of knowledge is quite widespread among the so called True-Cricket-Lovers who label any Ind wicket as dustbowl when Aus lose and as flat/slow when India score runs/win as in Perth 08.

  • Muhammad on October 31, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    @NP_NY: You will agree that conditions in Champions Trophy resembled Asian conditions and there was no swing at that time of the year which is usually not the case with English conditions. But the same Indian team was whitewashed badly in tests and ODIs in bilateral series in England In 2011. They were whitewashed in Australia the same year. The same Indian team lost test series at home against England and one day series against Pakistan in 2012.

    India has never won a series in South Africa. Believe me this South African lineup is the best in their entire history. They are a tough nut to crack. They haven't lost a single series in seven good years. India is a good one day side. There is no doubt about that. But they are not that good to beat South Africa at home. Indian test team is weaker than their test side and South African test side is divine.

  • Android on October 31, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    Every no.1 team has to face this unnecessary and totally illogical criticism just bcz they are no.1 and the others who are criticising them are not.. Australia went thru this phase and now It's India's turn.. It shows how scared they are of us.. Flat track or any track, You have to bat and score runs and win for ur country.. I am so happy people are criticising India, It only shows how good we are playing and how frustrated they are of our achievement.. Frustration is the main reason for this illogical bashing.. We will chase down much bigger targets than this in future.. We will frustrate you to the limit of swearing us.. Kohli will churn out more match winning thrashing innings like this in future.. and he will score a hundred again on 2nd nov in bengaluru.. his 18th odi century.. We will win the upcoming tour of SA..Both ODIs and test series.. It will be the judgment day for these very same bashers when India wins that last test match in SA.. #Bleedblueforlife

  • Harmon on October 31, 2013, 18:53 GMT


    These are early days for Bailey. D you what a low denominator can do to the result? He has batted well for sure and I am a big fan of his right from the CT13 days but probably a no of batsmen have had even higher avgs after the first 35-40 matches. Some of them managed to sustain it while most couldn't. Bailey has scored plenty of runs here but let's see if he can sustain it. Good performance in mere 5-6 matches is no guarantee of being able to do that over a longer period of time.

  • sidh on October 31, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Dear indian team basher who call india flat track bullies please note the record of india on fast bouncy seaming tracks out side SC 1.india won 2 WC in 1983(ODI)&2007(T20)in eng & SA respe. 2.finalist in 2003 WC in SA 3.won CT this year 2013 in eng without loosing a single match(including warm upatches) 4.won CB series in aus defeating strong aus team having hayden ponting symond in 2008 in straigjt 2 finals 5.won Nest West trophy in eng in 2001 6.won U-19 WC in aus in 2013. 7.won test series in eng,NZ,WI 8.Draw test series in SA in 2011(1-1).nearly won that series but kallis inning save SA from defeat but india totally dominate that draw test match 9.nearly draw the test series in aus 2-2 in 2008 if umpiring in that series was not poor. 10.won tri series in WI in 2013. 11.india A team played very well in SA in 2013. Also india won many series & tour in SL Ban. So if india is flat track bullies how can india have such good records on fast bouncy seaming pitches.

  • hasitha on October 31, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Any team can chase 350 anyday with this 2nd string aussie balling line up. Mckay,faulkner, doherty, watson all are below average . Only johnson is there as a wicket taking bowler.

  • Srinath on October 31, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    With pitches like these, maybe they should legalize ball tampering to have equilibrium between the bat and the ball!

  • Android on October 31, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    @Albert_Campbell- Record books doesn't care abt how a batter got his/her runs or where he/she got his/her runs.. It only cares abt the pure number.. Number of runs, Strike-rates, Batting averages and et cetera.. Dhoni's batting average is much better than Bevan no matter where he got it.. Record books are not asking for that.. Dhoni is the current best finisher in the world and even Bevan won't deny that.. Have a good day mate..

  • Ragavendran on October 31, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    Introduce only a single rule to take care of all the injustices against the bowler. Only the runs scored off the middle of the bat should be counted. The runs of the edge of the bat is the worst feeling one can experience as a bowler. The bats are so powerful that even leading edges might clear these boundaries which is not in any part due to the skill of the batsman.

  • santhosh on October 31, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    @Biggus: You have a problem understanding...I agree with you somewhat about the pitches in Aus...Like in Australia that is how the pitches are in India, naturally the pitches has low bounce, some has natural spin because of the soil difference in various part of India.....are you asking us to change the pitch according to your team's comfort??why should we, If you travel to the subcontinent you know the pitches are batting paradise and with the new rules it makes very difficult for the bowlers...then y whining????do we talk about the pitch when we get beaten in Aus or Eng???accept the fact and move on....