Kohli, Dhawan's centuries help India draw level series 2-2
Indian batting stars Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan scored swashbuckling centuries to help India secure a 6-wicket win over Australia in the 6th ODI at Nagpur on Wednesday. India now level 7-match series with one ODI to go at Bengaluru on Saturday.
MS Dhoni did not have any hesitation to put Australia in to bat after winning the toss as he stressed the presence of dew in the later half of the match. Australian opener Phil Hughes was the first to be dismissed as he miscued a pull off Bhuvneshwar Kumar to be caught by Virat Kohli at square leg. Hughes made 13 of 22. All PTI images
In-form opener Aaron Finch was next to get out, for 20 off 28 balls, when he tried to attack R Ashwin and was out clean bowled.
Shane Watson got a reprieve when he was out caught off a no-ball and he made it count by upping the ante after a circumspect start.
Watson went on to score his 9th century and reached it in 94 balls after scoring 13 fours and three sixes.
Watson combined to consolidate the Australian innings with a 168-run stand with skipper George Bailey, who notched up 400 runs in the ongoing series.
George Bailey broke a number of records en route his career-best 156. Bailey became the highest run scorer for an Australian skipper in a single innings against India in ODIs. He also registered the third highest score for any skipper against India in ODIs. Bailey hit a total of 13 fours and six sixes in his 114-ball knock. Australia ended with 350/6 in their 50 overs.
Shikhar Dhawan was the aggressor as India were steady in their chase of 351. Rohit tried to bat through and anchor the innings while Dhawan was made to work for his runs as his strength area - the off side - was blunted by the Aussies with a fielder in the deep on all occasions.
Rohit completed a 19th fifty in ODI cricket and continued his golden run with the bat this year at the top of the order. He added 178 runs for the first wicket with Dhawan to break their previous record of the highest opening stand for India against Australia.
Once Rohit got out, Virat Kohli came out to bat and meant business straight away. He kept the pressure on the Aussie bowlers with regular fours and sixes, much like his knock in the Jaipur game.
Shikhar Dhawan reached a well-deserved hundred - his 4th in ODIs. He brought the hundred off 100 balls and kept India on course to chase down 351.
Then came a turning point of sorts in the innings as Mitchell Johnson got Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh out in space of 4 balls. MS Dhoni came out to support Kohli and calm the innings.
Kohli, with the help of Dhoni went on and completed his 17th ODI hundred and 11th ton in a successful run chase for India. Kohli finished with 115 not out off 66 balls, the third fastest century by an Indian in ODIs and along with Dhoni (25 not out off 23 balls) ensured India romped home with three balls to spare and 6 wickets in hand.