Rohit-man picks off Aussies in final ODI

01 October 2017

Opener posts his 14th ton to fire India to seven-wicket win and 4-1 series victory

India v Australia ODIs, Fifth ODI


The positives Australia took from their drought-breaking win last Thursday have been quickly forgotten after India stormed to a seven-wicket victory in Nagpur on Sunday that secured a 4-1 ODI series win and the world No.1 ranking.

Australia had lamented letting go of winning positions in the first three games of this series, but they were never in the contest here as India's impressive outfit secured victory with more than seven overs to spare.

Australia's below-par score of 9-242 was gobbled up by the home side's star-studded top order, which had been below its exemplary best throughout the series but fired in unison in front of a vocal Nagpur crowd watching its first ODI since 2013.

Australia post 9-242 in final ODI against India

After openers Rohit Sharma (125 from 109 balls) and Ajinkya Rahane (61 from 74 balls) had wiped off more than half of the victory target inside 25 overs, the former crossed 6000 career runs on his way to a 14th ODI century, bringing up three figures with a six over mid-wicket, one of 28 boundaries (23 fours, five sixes) the home side struck.

The impressive Nathan Coulter-Nile (1-42) copped some punishment late on but was the only Australian bowler to fire a meaningful shot in a tame performance in the field, while Adam Zampa (2-59 from eight) picked up two late wickets but finished a difficult series with just four scalps in total and an economy rate of seven.

Having temporarily taken the top ODI ranking after winning the third match in Indore a week ago, the hosts lost it again following their loss in Bengaluru last Thursday. But their victory here means they'll hold top spot at least until South Africa's ODI series against Bangladesh later this month while the Aussies have slipped to third alongside England.

Zampa took four wickets for the series // BCCI
Zampa took four wickets for the series // BCCI

And if India manage to sweep the three-match T20 series that starts on Saturday, not an unthinkable proposition given their current hold over the Australians, Virat Kohli's side will boast the No.1 ranking in Test and ODIs and the No.2 spot in Twenty20 cricket.

The fact that eight of the nine dismissed Australian batsmen scored between 12 and 53 illustrates both that the surface was a touch tricky to bat on, but also that none of the touring batsmen were able to capitalise on decent starts.

David Warner and Aaron Finch posted their third 50-plus partnership in as many games, striking 10 boundaries in the first 10 overs, before Finch perished for 32 trying to lift Hardik Pandya over mid-off.

Warner and Smith steadied before the skipper played across the line to part-time spinner Kedhar Jadav for 29, sparking yet another Australian collapse that yielded three wickets for just eight runs and turned the match India's way. Smith's dismissal saw him finish the series with an average of 28.40, his lowest return in a Test or ODI campaign in more than 18 months.

Warner struck 53 off 62 balls // BCCI
Warner struck 53 off 62 balls // BCCI

Warner (54 from 62) departed less than three overs after his skipper, getting too much on an attempted chip over the in-field and handing a catch to long on, before Peter Handscomb was also out sweeping, caught for 18 to hand Ashkar Patel (3-38 from 10 overs) the second of his three wickets.

With the pitch taking noticeable turn, Travis Head (42) and Marcus Stoinis (46) steadied with an 87-run stand that, while desperately needed after the tumble of wickets, came slowly as India's impressive spin trio kept things tight.

And there was to be no late flourish; Head's dismissal for 42 at the end of the 43rd over started a stumble of 5-37 in 43 balls to finish the innings, including two wickets from the final two deliveries.

It was fitting that another Australian collapse, the tale of so many tours to the subcontinent and most of this series, was again the major reason for yet another loss away from home.

And while the much bigger goal of winning back the Ashes urn looms large, heading into such a crucial Test summer with little or no momentum is hardly the optimum outcome of this series.

Australia XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith (c), Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis, James Faulkner, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa.

India XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah

Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

ODI Fixtures

September 17: India won by 26 runs (DLS Method)

September 21: India won by 50 runs

September 24: India won by five wickets

September 28: Australia won by 21 runs

October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur

T20 Fixtures

October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad