Bangalore: Rohit Sharma smashed his way into the record books with a stunning 209 as the Indian cricket team provided the perfect Diwali gift to the nation with a 57-run victory in the the series-deciding final ODI against Australia to clinch the rubber 3-2 here on Saturday. (Rohit Sharma hits 200)
The 26-year-old Sharma gave a breathtaking display to power India to an imposing 383 for six before the hosts bowled out Australia for 326 in 45.1 overs at the jam-packed Chinnaswamy Stadium. (Highlights)
The immensely talented Sharma thus became only the third batsman in the history of ODI cricket after Virender Sehwag (219) and Sachin Tendulkar (200 no) to reach the coveted double ton. (Scorecard)
Chasing a mammoth total, Australia made a spirited effort with all-rounder James Faulkner blasting a 73-ball 116, the fastest century by an Australian in ODIs. While Faulkner hit 11 fours and six over-boundaries, Glenn Maxwell pulverized the Indian bowlers on his way to a 22-ball 60 that contained seven sixes. (Wanted to play big on a small ground: Rohit)
Staring at a heavy defeat at 138 for six, Faulkner played a blinder as Australia made a dramatic recovery to give their chase respectability. He was involved in a record ninth wicket stand of 115 runs with Clint McKay.
Earlier, enroute his 158-ball-209, Rohit created a world record by hitting as many as 16 sixes along with 12 fours. His effort bettered Shane Watson's previous best of 15 maximums against Bangladesh. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (62) and Shikhar Dhawan (60) scored brisk half-centuries.
This was also the highest individual ODI score by any batsman against Australia in ODIs as well as being India's highest team total against the visitors. The last five overs produced an unbelievable 101 runs.
This is the first instance when India have won a seven-match ODI series against the Aussies.
While Rohit scored his first 100 off 114 balls, the next hundred came off only 42 deliveries. All the sixes were clean straight hits in the arc between deep extra-cover and deep mid-wicket. There was minimum muscle and maximum timing in each and every six that he hit.
Put into bat by the Australian skipper George Bailey, the home team rode on Rohit's brilliant batting display which was complemented by his opening partner Dhawan (60) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who batted in his customary style smacking a 38-ball-62 with seven fours and two sixes.
Rohit and Dhoni added a staggering 167 runs for the fifth wicket in only 15.4 overs at an average of 10.65 while the opening partnership again proved to be productive yielding 112 runs.
The men who missed out included Virat Kohli (0)and the two horribly out-of-form players Yuvraj Singh (12) and Suresh Raina (28).
While another in-form batsman Kohli was run-out for duck without scoring and looked angry, the Delhi star was the most vocal in his applause when Rohit reached his individual milestones.
Having got a second wind after being promoted as an opener, Rohit also completed 1000 runs in ODIs this year at a very impressive average of 50 plus.
This is Rohit's third big score in the current apart from his match-winning 141 at Jaipur and 79 in the last game at Nagpur.
With the current ODI rules of having five fielders inside the circle at any point of time has proved to be a draconian one for the bowlers who have been taken to the cleaners.
All the frontline Australian bowlers got a hammering with Clint McKay (1/89 in 10 overs) ending up with worst figures.
Nathan Coultier-Nile (0/80 in 10 overs), James Faulkner (1/75 in 10 overs) and Xavier Doherty (2/74 in 10 overs) were smoked to all parts of the ground by Rohit and Dhoni.
Rohit ultimately fell to Mckay when he was caught by substitute Moises Henriques, who had come in to field for Shane Watson who suffered from an hamstring injury.
Rohit-Dhawan brought up the third century opening stand for India in this series after he rocked back and cut Glenn Maxwell to deep extra cover fence. This was also their sixth century stand this year and became the only pair to do so in a calendar year.
They were also involved in match-winning 176 and 178 runs opening partnership in Jaipur and Nagpur one-dayers, respectively.
Dhawan was lucky to have survived on 41 when Watson missed a run-out chance at backward point after he threw the ball wide, giving ample time for the Delhi lad to get back into the crease.
Doherty did the damage for the visitors, scalping two important wickets of Dhawan and Suresh Raina, and pegged India back to some extent after the roaring start given by the openers.
Kohli, who needed 81 runs to beat Vivian Richards' record of being the fastest batsman to reach 5000-run mark in one-dayers, was unfortunately run out. Raina and Yuvaraj fell to Doherty and James Faulkner in quick succession but Rohit and Dhoni more than made up for their failures.
While batting, Australia lost six wickets with just 138 runs on the board before the lower-order, led by the mercurial Faulkner, staged a recovery.
In a match that saw quite a few records tumble one after another, medium pacer R Vinay Kumar was the only bowler to have the ignominy to bleed more than 100 runs.
When Faulkner walked out to bat, Australia were reeling at 132 for five. But in a matter of few overs, he nearly changed the equation by striking a barrage of fours and sixes.
But with the visiting side losing their top-batsmen with little on the board, even the heroics of Faulkner and Co could not help Australia chase down the target.
Mohammed Shami, Ravichandra Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja finshed with two wickets apiece.
Story first published on: Saturday, 02 November 2013 15:17 IST