India v Australia, 7th ODI, Bangalore November 2, 2013

India edge sixathon with Rohit Sharma's 209


India 383 for 6 (Rohit 209, Dhoni 62, Dhawan 60) beat Australia 326 (Faulkner 116, Maxwell 60) by 57 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It is an indictment of how skewed the contest between bat and ball has become that for 2961 ODIs, no batsman broke the 200-run barrier and now three have done it in the last 467 matches. Rohit Sharma was the latest entrant to the club, after Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, and he hit 16 sixes - a world record - during a ransacking of Australia in the deciding match of a series that bowlers on both sides will be glad to leave behind. Incredibly, Australia lost because they were out of wickets and not time.

India hit 19 sixes as they racked up 383; Australia replied with 326, the ninth time in 11 innings that a team passed 300 this series. And though they lost by a sizeable margin in the end, they did not lose the six-hitting contest. Australia matched India in raining blows over the Chinnaswamy Stadium's tiny boundaries and together they smashed the record for the most sixes in a one-day international. India and New Zealand had hit 31 in Christchurch in 2009; India and Australia hit a numbing 38 today. And 29 balls remained unused. Vinay Kumar's 1 for 102 in nine overs were the worst figures by an Indian in an ODI; Glenn Maxwell and Shane Watson were close to owning the record for the quickest 50 by an Australian, and James Faulkner's 57-ball 100 was his country's fastest ODI century. It was hard to make sense of it all.

The madness began with Rohit. For a batsman to have the opportunity of making a double-century in 50 overs, stars need to align, and they did today. Apart from the playing conditions that already favour run-making, George Bailey put India in on an easy-paced pitch and a Lilliputian outfield, the weather was cool and the humidity low, and Australia had sent home Mitchell Johnson, then lost Watson to injury in the middle of his spell, while their remaining bowlers sent down a variety of pies. Rohit had the necessary luck too, when on 120 he was dropped at deep square leg by the substitute Moises Henriques, who parried the ball over the boundary to worsen the six count.

Rohit might have felt the need to compensate his team and the crowd for running out Virat Kohli, the hottest batting talent in India at the moment, for a duck. He and MS Dhoni plundered 167 runs off 94 balls for the fifth wicket. India scored 151 in the last ten overs, of which 101 came in the last five. Rohit had gone past 100 off 114 balls. And then he went past 200 off his 156th delivery. It was difficult to recall that Rohit had played the supporting act during his sixth century stand in 19 innings with Shikhar Dhawan, their third such opening partnership of this series. And that he had to overcome a testing period, when Dhawan was trapped lbw in the 19th over and Kohli run out in the next.

Despite India having gone past 100 in 15.1 overs, a whole new level of carnage began from the 26th, when Rohit waylaid the spinners, launching Xavier Doherty and Maxwell repeatedly into the stands between square leg and long-on. When the quicks returned, they repeated their errors of bowling both sides of the wicket, and Rohit continued driving and flicking over the leg-side boundary, while also driving fours and sixes between point and long-off. His smooth stroke-play was in contrast to Dhoni's brutal blows, which included a helicoptered six that flew over the roof at long-on.

At the start of the final over, Rohit was on 197. He brought up his double by driving Clint McKay over the cover boundary, and sent the next one over midwicket to claim the record for most sixes in an innings.

When Australia had slipped to 74 for 4 in the 17th over of the chase, with Watson hamstrung in the dressing room, India looked like coasting to victory. But out came Maxwell, wielding his bat like a hammer. He hit his first ball for six, and then pillaged Vinay to sprint to 28 off 6 balls. He swiped and slugged his way to equalling Simon O'Donnell's 18-ball record for the fastest Australian half-century, and eventually fell for 60 off 22 deliveries.

Then came the wounded Watson, his penchant for six-hitting increased by injury, his anger stoked by Dhawan's graceless mocking of his hobbling between the wickets. He too vandalised Vinay for 22 in an over, and was in the running to beat Maxwell and O'Donnell, before he was caught for 49 off 22 at short third man, off Dhoni's thigh.

The most astonishing performance of the day, however, came from Faulkner, who added 115 runs with McKay for the ninth wicket. At one point, when the stand was worth 57, McKay had contributed no runs to it. He plundered Vinay, for 21 runs in an over, and moved from 35 off 29 balls to a century in the next 28 deliveries to beat Matthew Hayden's record for Australia's fastest century. While Faulkner hit fours and sixes seemingly at will, the Diwali crowd fell silent and had he had a proper batsman for company, Australia may have been able to pull off one of the most improbable chases.

They needed only 67 off 48 balls when Ravindra Jadeja began to slow them down, first with a three-run over and then by bowling McKay with the final delivery of his spell. Faulkner then mis-hit the next ball, high into the night sky, and Dhawan, running fast to his right at deep midwicket, caught it superbly to give India the series 3-2.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • uncle bob on November 5, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    Indian batsmen are too good for opposing bowlers. its unfair. There has to be balance between two teams. India should have dropped Dhawan, Kohli and Dhoni to make matches more interesting. For this very reason, this series was pretty boring.

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    The respective attitudes of the 2 camps are reflected in Johnson's release and India's going for the 11 they fancy as their best, whether or not it actually is. So the A team argument from one camp has some merit, I thought.

  • Android on November 5, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    those who still whine that this series was farce, boring waste if time etc etc, who told you to watch it. simple switch off the tv or change the channel. as simple as it gets aint it. now coming to my 2nd point that lot of people here complain that batsman's performance should not be judged on how they bat on flat tracks, similarly bowlers performance should not be judged on how they bowl on bouncy, seaming or spinning tracks. that makes mcgrath, lee, ajmal, anderson, murali etc etc avg bowlers. reason simple- mcgrath lee bowled mostly in aus/eng and took most of the wickets on those pitches. anderson and co same on eng/aus which naturally assists fast bowlers. murali took wickets on the slow spin assisting tracks of sri lanka and ajmal creates havoc im spinning tracks of uae and asia. so i term all of them avg bowlers. agreed everyone who whines at indian batsman. cm'on u people cant have best of both the worlds. if ind batsman are avg then these bowlers are also avg..

  • Harmon on November 5, 2013, 2:29 GMT


    Pathetic excuses once again. Is this really Aus B Team? If so why did you send a 2nd string Team? Is it India fault? Aus did not come close to winning the series at all, 2 matches were lost out of which at least 1 was all for India's. Except the 1st match, Aus never really looked like winning another one but for Ishant at Mohali.

    Who is missing from this 2nd/3rd String Aus Team? Clarke? Warner? Pattinson? The Aus A team was in India a few months back for tests, you know what happened then? India thrashed Aus 4-0 then. Btw, the Oz A team played in the prev Ashes too & lost 0-3 there too.

    I guess u did not see the crowd applauding Faulkner for his 100 or do you want the Indian crowd to celebrate Aus hitting 6s? This esp when we do not see you guys saying anything for Kohli for 2 awesome 100s or for Rohit for his 200?

    Ground was tiny? Most 6s were 80+ mtrs, large enough for even MCG.

    Your logic is, anyone who played for Aus in the last 6-7 yrs is part of the A team.

  • sri on November 4, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    Avid movie watchers will understand that a hero is considered better if stakes are higher and villains are mightier. If not movies'll be boring. Imagine Schwarzenegger beating up villians who won't stand a chance anyways. This series was like that for bowlers.

    Nobody is questioning india's capability to win even with bowling friendly conditions. But to have lop-sided contests which are pro-batsmen is not going to help them improve as team

    When we talk about tendulkar's greatest innings, we say his innings as a teenager in seaming wickets of australia as a prime example. why? Coz, he overcame insurmountable odds and showcased his batting talent

    Same with Lara's match winning knock of 153. even though it was home conditions, he marshalled the tail enders against the might of warne and mcgrath. i can still visualize walsh pumping his fist from the other end when lara batted against them and still won single-handedly

    As an avid cricket fan, would you rather watch this 209 or that 153?

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    Look at the performances of some good bowlers in IPL: Sunil Narayan, Stein Johnson, Bhuvi, Bravo, Harbhajan Singh. Its the same set of pitches. One of the factors in this high scoring series is the true nature of the pitches, but you cant ignore the immense batting talent shown by Virat, Dhawan, Bailey, Maxwell, Faulkner. The batsman has shown tremendous self-confidence throughout the series and time and again they have been helped by dropped catches. The bowlers had not much going for them and they have not helped their cause by being in-consistent in their line and length and some bad luck when they the crucial catches were dropped. .

  • Brandon on November 4, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    Slowly but surely bowlers will die out, or at least good quality bowlers ,I mean every cricket loving boy in school would have watched this series and would have seen how uneven an contest you get between bat and ball, I mean who would want to be a bowler on pitches like that in India, they might as well chuck underarm full tosses for the batsmen, saddest of all is that the bowlers still gets slack from the media at the end of the day, this my dear friends is India destroying the game of cricket....Run bowlers run, in India this is a batsmen`s game. Anyone that knows and totally appreciate the morals of cricket would have shook their head when watching this series, this is becoming a joke, lets see if the mockery continues when Kohli ect have to stand up to quality pace bowlers on normal wickets in SA.. Proud ENG supporter

  • Brandon on November 4, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Playing on flat tracks with short boundaries.....must be awesome being an Indian batsman, India is making a mockery of the game of cricket, in 10 years time all the kids in school would want to be batsmen, I mean who wants to be a bowler in a contest were you have absolutely nothing going for you... they might as well ask bowlers to throw underarm full tosses so that we can see witch batsmen smacks the ball the furthest, this is a batsmen`s game in India...But unfortunately we live in a world where some countries will have the last say in everything and have all their way...Well done on destroying an even contest India ,as you will see that none of your batsmen will be able to put up big scores in SA. Proud Aussie Supporter

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    This series was a farce. A mockery of the contest between bat and ball.

  • Abhishek on November 4, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    @Blade_Runner Mate you keeping whining , criticizing , undermining the efforts of Indian team , players , pitches , stadium boundaries and Team India will keep doing what they like the best "WINNING" ! Infact all your criticism(rather troll) is a good omen for us and also goes to show how keenly you follow India's cricket just like fan does ! Good job keep it up !