Sizzling Kohli scripts India's victory

Middle-order batsman hammers hundred as Dhonis men outclass Australia to take 1-0 lead

Sizzling Kohli scripts India's victory

Michael Clarke produced an innings of character under great strife while his deputy Cameron White played an absolute blinder as Australia amassed a daunting 289 for three from 50 overs.

Having reduced the home side to 35 for two on a slower pitch, the visitors had no reason not to fancy their first win of the tour. Instead, they were left to wonder as to what more they have to do to stop the Indian juggernaut.

Australia watched in utter helplessness as India, riding on Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina’s brilliance, snatched the victory to assure themselves at least a share of the series going into Sunday’s final one-dayer in Goa. Yuvraj Singh too came up with a crucial 57 (87b, 5x4) and his 137-run association off 152 balls with Kohli for the third wicket ensured India didn’t slip further after losing both the openers early. India replied with 292 for five in 48.5 overs.

Appetite for runs

Kohli, battling cramps and needing a runner in Shikhar Dhawan after reaching 81, once again showed his appetite for huge knocks under pressure situations. He has done it before twice, against Sri Lanka in Kolkata and Bangladesh in Dhaka, and he did it again in front of a jam-packed stadium. His 121-ball 118 (121b, 17x4, 1x6) was the rock upon which India successfully constructed their chase.

The Delhi batsman, oscillating his approach between caution and aggression, essayed some delectable strokes all around the park as Australia failed to stop the flow of runs. The arrival of Raina (71, 47b, 7x4, 1x6) only compounded the misery for Australia.

The left-hander, who took special liking to James Hopes and Australia’s most successful bowler Clint McKay (3/55), took the pressure off Kohli with a stunning assault and raised 84 runs with Kohli. Even when India faced a mini-crisis losing both Kohli and MS Dhoni in quick succession, the 22-year-old held firm to steer India home in the company of debutant Saurabh Tiwary.  

Earlier, Clarke anchored the innings with an unbeaten ton (111, 138b, 7x4, 1x6) along with Michael Hussey (69, 77b, 7x4) and then almost slipped into inertia as White (89, 49b, 6x4, 6x6) beat the daylights out of Indian pacemen.

Vinay Kumar bore the brunt of White’s violent intentions but other bowlers too didn’t completely escape the punishment.

White shines

A large credit for Australia, who capped left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc and right-arm quick John Hastings, posting a near-300 total should go to White.

However, the industry shown by Clarke and Hussey deserves equal appreciation. The right-left combination joined the forces in the middle when Australia, put into bat first, were reeling at 16 for two and they built the innings brick by brick while preparing the foundations of a formidable total.

Clarke’s tentativeness was apparent but Hussey faced no such problem. The southpaw, also under pressure to score runs, stole singles regularly and didn’t let go any bad delivery unpunished. He didn’t quite exactly set the run-rate racing, but it wasn’t crawling either like in the first 10 overs when only 30 runs were scored. The two seasoned campaigners summoned all their experience to stitch together 144 runs from 172 balls that took Australia to 160. R Ashwin, easily the best bowler on the scene with his clever variations, trapped Hussey in front to separate the bulging association and in walked White.

The 27-year-old exploded in style depositing Vinay over sightscreen for the first of his half-a-dozen sixes. Clarke, meanwhile, reached his ton in the same over, racing from 91 to 100.

After congratulating his skipper, White set about his slaughter. The blonde-haired batsman helped Australia notch up 114 runs in the last 10 overs, 84 of them coming in the last five with White looting 64 of them in a mere 21 balls. Truly astonishing stuff, but India were simply breathtaking.
 
Score board
AUSTRALIA
Marsh b Nehra    0
(11b)
Paine c Vinay b Nehra    9
(24b, 1x4)
Clarke (not out)    111
(138b, 7x4, 1x6)
Hussey lbw Ashwin    69
(77b, 7x4)
White (not out)    89
(49b, 6x4, 6x6)
Extras (LB-10, W-1)    11
Total (for 3 wkts, 50 overs)    289
Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Marsh), 2-16 (Paine), 3-160 (Hussey)
Bowling: Praveen 9-1-51-0, Nehra 10-1-57-2, Vinay 9-1-71-0, Ashwin 9-0-34-1, Yuvraj 10-0-48-0 (w-1), Raina 3-0-18-0.
Runs during Power Play1: 1-10 overs: 30/2; Power Play2: 11-15 overs: 21/0; Power Play3 (batting): 43-47 overs: 49/0.

INDIA
Dhawan b Mckay    0
(2b)
Vijay c Paine b McKay    15
(18b, 3x4)
Kohli c Hopes b Hastings    118
(121b, 17x4, 1x6)
Yuvraj b McKay    58
(87b, 5x4)
Raina (not out)    71
(47b, 9x4, 1x6)
Dhoni b Hastings    0
(1b)
Tiwary (not out)    12
(17b, 2x4)
Extras (B-8, LB-1, W-9)    18
Total (for 5 wkts, 48.5 overs)    292
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Dhawan), 2-35 (Vijay), 3-172 (Yuvraj), 4-256 (Kohli), 5-257 (Dhoni).
Bowling: McKay 10-0-55-3 (w-1), Starc 8.5-0-51-0 (w-4), Hastings 10-1-44-2 (w-3), Hopes 7-0-56-0, Hauritz 10-0-54-0 (w-1), Steven Smith 3-0-23-0.
Runs during: Power Play1: 1-10 overs: 40/2; Power Play2: 11-15 overs: 28/0; Power Play3 (batting): 43/2.

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