Rohit Sharma showed the way for India by slamming a brilliant unbeaten 171 against Australia in the first ODI in Perth on Tuesday. His 163-ball innings included seven sixes and 13 fours. (Scorecard / Live updates)
Rohit, who has always been criticised for not doing justice to his talent, looked sure of himself, in the first of the five ODIs, right from the start. The India opener played a chanceless knock to become the fastest to complete 1000 ODI runs against Australia. This was Rohit's ninth ODI ton in 144 ODIs, and his third against the Aussies.
Rohit's 171 also broke Viv Richards' unbeaten 153, scored in 1979, to be the highest individual innings in ODIs in Australia against Australia. He also became the first Indian batsman to score a century at Perth.
He and Virat Kohli (91) combined to score 207 for the second wicket, which surpassed Sachin Tendulkar-VVS Laxman's 199-run partnership to be the highest second-wicket stand for India against Australia in Australia. Overall, this is the fifth highest partnership for India against Australia in ODIs.
After India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to bat, Rohit Sharma was off the blocks with a four off Mitchell Marsh. Despite fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan's departure in the seventh over, the 28-year-old Rohit continued to build the innings in the presence of No. 3 Virat Kohli. The two took India past the 100-Run mark in 21.2 overs as the run-rate stayed near five-per over. They even scored the highest second wicket partnership against Australia in Australia.
Then came Kohli, and the two showed calm nerves to build a solid partnership. Rohit was the more aggerssive of the two as he hit the first six of the match off dubatant Joel Paris in the fourth over.
He brought up his half-century in 63 balls and then increased the tempo of his innings. Rohit scored the next 50 runs in just 59 balls, which included boundaries against Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell. India crossed the 150-run mark in 30.2 overs as Rohit hit James faulkner for a boundary.
Rohit was again in the thick of things when India brought up the 200-run mark as he hit Paris for a six in the 38th over. He took special liking for Boland as he hit him for three fours in the very next over. No Australian bolwer had any answer for this onslaught.
If this was not enough, Kohli joined forces and reached 91 in just 97 balls. He looked set for a century but was caught by Aaron Finch off Mitchell Marsh.
But Rohit did not stop his assault and continued with Dhoni for company. Boland was again at the receiving end of his fury in the 48th over as he hit the debutant two sixes. Boland day only went worse in the 50th over as Rohit hit him for a four to take India past 300 and then hit another six off the fast bowler.
Australia has always been a happy hunting ground for Rohit. He now has the highest average against Australia in the ODIs.
Though Rohit scored centuries in the ODI and Twenty20 series against South Africa at home recently, he failure in the Test series led many to question his place in the team. The century in Perth will surely help shut up his detractors.