Rohit Sharma's 209-run blitz helps India beat Australia, take series
Rohit Sharma's plundered a mammoth 209 runs from 158 balls to help India beat Australia by 57 runs and take the ODI series 3-2 in Bangalore on Saturday.
Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan began India's innings in a familiar fashion and racked up a fifty-run from just 38 balls. The pair put on their sixth century stand in 19 innings as they took apart Australia's attack, devoid of their bowling spearhead Mitchell Johnson, who returned home to prepare for the Ashes.
Dhawan played the aggressor early and smashed six boundaries from the first six overs, while Rohit managed just two. But the Mumbai batsman cut loose after Dhawan was trapped lbw in the 19th over and Virat Kohli was run out in the next.
Rohit waylaid the spinners and launched Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell repeatedly into the stands between square leg and long-on. When Australia's captain George Bailey turned to his fast bowlers for answers, there were none forthcoming, as Rohit capitalised on some wayward bowling. He flicked with ease over the leg-side boundary and also drove fours and sixes between point and long-off.
Rohit scored his hundred from just 114 balls and reached the elusive 200-run club from 156 balls. 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.
Buoyed by an easy-paced pitch and a lightning-quick outfield, Australia replied with a respectable 326. But a 73-ball 116, from James Faulkner, wasn't enough for the tourists to beat hosts.
"I didn't really think of the 200 initially. Right from ball one I wanted to stay there," Rohit said. "It was a small ground with a fast outfield, we knew it was going to be a big-scoring game keeping the wickets in hand. We always spoke about building small parnterhsips and we had two big ones today."
"It's been our strength throughout the series so it was heartening to see that. You never know, even 380 wasn't looking comfortable. Credit goes to Dhawan and Virat as well, they played very well throughout the series, we showed real character."
Dhoni lauded his batsmen for delivering through the series. "383 wasn't on our mind but Rohit batted very well," he said. "This ground has the reputation for batsmen hitting more sixes than fours, especially when you see Gayle and Virat batting in the IPL. It's difficult to contain the batsmen here. Our batting has been fantastic, the openers have done very well but it would have been good if the middle order got a few more runs."