Nagpur: Indian captain hit 40th ODI century while Vijay Shankar scores valuable 46 runs and picked up two wickets under pressure in the last over as India took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
After an opening stand of 83, Australia kept losing wickets at junctures from which India surged in confidence on a tough batting track. Peter Handscomb (48) was cut off before he could do serious damage and another exceptional display of death-overs bowling from Jasprit Bumrah proved massive in keeping Marcus Stoinis (52) quiet.
Bumrah’s final spell of 2-0-2-2, which included two wickets in the 46th over, underlined his status as the No 1 bowler in ODIs and his skill at the death.
Given the role of defending 11 from the last over, Vijay Shankar took two wickets to seal a thrilling win. His final three overs went for 27 runs for the addition of one wicket, but Kuldeep Yadav‘s 3/54 also played a key role.
This is India’s 500th win in ODI cricket.
At the toss, after Aaron Finch opted to field, Kohli said it was a “no-brainer” to bat first while predicting that the Nagpur track would deteriorate as the day progressed.
In quick time, he found himself at the crease after Rohit Sharma bagged his first ODI duck in over a year and as wickets continued to fall in clusters, Kohli called on his reservoir of experience to craft a superb 116 that has taken him to within nine hundreds of matching Sachin Tendulkar’s once-mythical record of 49.
Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja forged Australia’s best opening stand in nine ODIs, that of 83 in 14.3 overs, but both fell to spin in the thirties.
Finch’s 53-ball 37 was his highest score in six innings and he showed signs of getting back to form as he slog-swept Kuldeep for six, only to fall lbw to the wristspinner soon after.
Khawaja looked good for his 38 off 37 balls until he lazily chipped Kedar Jadhav’s low-rising offspin straight to an animated Kohli at cover.
With that, 83 for no loss had become 83/2. Shaun Marsh didn’t manage a boundary during his 27-ball 16 which ended when he was excellently taken by MS Dhoni when trying to deflect Ravindra Jadeja’s left-arm spin.
And when Glenn Maxwell missed a booming swipe across the stumps to a short ball fro Kuldeep that stayed low, Australia were 132/4.
Handscomb swept, reverse-swept and paddled his way to a perky 48.
Stoinis had by this stage laboured to 16 from 31 balls, and it needed Alex Carey’s arrival to bring some urgency. He hit Kuldeep for two fours, but then missed a swipe and was bowled.
With Australia needing 29 runs from 30 balls, Kohli called on Bumrah and the result was two wickets in the 46th over.
Nathan Coulter-Nile was bowled when attempting to run the ball down to third man and Pat Cummins swished and got a faint nick to Dhoni.