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Cricket news - Rohit, Kohli star in India's series win

Rohit Sharma's 29th ODI century and Virat Kohli's 91-ball 89 built on another excellent show by the Indian bowlers

Rohit Sharma's 29th ODI century and Virat Kohli's 91-ball 89 built on another excellent show by the Indian bowlers

Rohit Sharma's masterful 29th ODI century and a 91-ball 89 from skipper Virat Kohli guided India to a come-from-behind series win over Australia. Chasing 287, India paced their innings to perfection with Rohit leading the charge. KL Rahul had to change his batting spot for the third successive time in the series with Shikhar Dhawan getting sidelined with an injury during Australia's innings. But approaching the chase with one less frontline batsman didn't affect the hosts one bit.

Rohit was the slayer in the powerplay taking on Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. If not for an economical start from Josh Hazlewood, Australia would have easily conceded more than 70 in the powerplay. An erratic Starc was punished by Rohit with the highlight of the innings being a six over point. The openers had contrasting starts in the first ten overs with Rohit going past 40 even as Rahul struggled to get going. Australia seized on the opportunity by getting rid of Rahul with a well-calculated review but the wicket ensured Rohit and Kohli join forces once again.

Australia did well in the middle overs keeping both the batsmen quite which in turn increased the required run rate a touch but Rohit found his groove once again finding the odd boundary. A short ball from Marnus Labuschagne was dispatched for another six and Adam Zampa was punished few overs later for the same error. One more six, this time off Aaron Finch, saw him move into the nineties before he eventually brought up the three-figure score for the 29th time in ODI cricket, going past Sanath Jayasuriya.

Kohli now grew in confidence as he took on a hapless Cummins who looked completely out of sorts on the night. Two back-to-back authoritative boundaries brought up another fifty for the Indian skipper and even though Zampa sent back the centurion in the very next over, the damage was done by then. Shreyas Iyer was tested again on the backfoot but he made amends at the end getting one over the pacers who troubled him in the first two games. Kohli, who looked to get to his 44th ODI ton, saw his stumps rearranged by Hazlewood but the formalities were completed with ease as India won with 15 balls left to spare.

Earlier in the day, Steve Smith's ninth ODI ton helped Australia crawl their way to 286/9. Finch's decision to bat first appeared to backfire when David Warner walked back to the pavilion very early in the innings and the skipper himself was left fuming after Smith's misjudgement saw him get run out.

The wicket only added extra pressure on Smith who once again joined forces with Labuschagne to revive the innings. Even though the wicket aided turn, the two batsmen handled the spinners with ease and were scoring freely off Kuldeep Yadav. Both batsmen were well set by the halfway mark with Smith even going past fifty. With the partnership increasingly looking to threaten, India were given a ray of hope by their skipper who grabbed an excellent catch to end Labuschagne's knock.

Australia's experiment to promote Starc failed but Alex Carey chipped in with a useful contribution to revive Australia's innings again. But losing Carey and Ashton Turner in a short span threatened to derail Australia's innings before Smith opened up. Having missed a century in the second ODI, Smith got to the three-figure mark this time and played some audacious shots at the death against India's pacers. Those crucial runs ensured that Australia post a competitive total which was still not enough against a rampaging Indian lineup.

Brief scores: Australia 286/9 in 50 overs (Steve Smith 131, Marnus Labuschagne 54; Mohammed Shami 4-63, Ravindra Jadeja 2-44) lost to India 289/3 in 47.3 overs (Rohit Sharma 119, Virat Kohli 89; Ashton Agar 1-38) by seven wickets

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