4th ODI: Indians commit harakiri

Kohli, Dhawan tons go in vain as visitors suffer 25-run defeat against Aussies

4th ODI: Indians commit harakiri

India capitulated in stunning fashion, losing the last nine wickets for 46 runs to give Australia a 25-run victory in the fourth ODI here on Wednesday after outstanding centuries by Shikhar Dhawan (126) and Virat Kohli (106).

Chasing a substantial 349 for their first win in the series, the visitors were given a great start by Rohit Sharma, who hit a breezy 41 off 25 balls before Dhawan and Kohli set up a rollicking partnership of 212 runs for the second wicket off 177 balls to take the team to 277 without any further loss when Dhawan fell to mark a long procession of Indian batsman returning to the pavilion.

Kohli hit 106 off only 92 balls for his second successive century in the series before a soft dismissal and then Dhoni (0) lasted only three balls to dash India’s hopes with another frontline batsman Ajinkya Rahane injured although he did come into bat making only 2 runs.

When India finally got dismissed for 323 in 49.2 overs, Australia registered their 18th consecutive win in ODIs played at home. Chasing 349, Rohit and Dhawan set a hectic pace from the very start. They were helped by Australia’s ploy of starting with Nathan Lyon (1-76) from one end.

It helped the Indian batsmen, with Rohit going on the attack straightaway, and the 50-mark came up in just 44 balls.

Rohit was gone after gloving the ball down the leg side off Kane Richardson (5/68) in the eighth over. Kohli and Dhawan then continued, smacking the ball at will. The next 50 runs for India came in just 30 balls, with the 100-mark coming up in the 13th over.

Meanwhile, nothing was working for Australian bowlers on a flat track, as the Indian duo didn’t let up the pressure of scoring, that too without offering a single chance.

Their 100-stand came up in just 78 balls, as Dhawan reached his fifty off 49 balls in the 17th over while Kohli got there in just 34 balls in the 19th over. They gained further momentum after this as the 150-mark came up in the 20th over and before the end of the 26th over, India had already breached the 200-mark.

When India crossed 250 in only the 34th over, the possibility of a first-ever successful 300-plus run-chase against Australia in Australia became very real. Dhawan had reached his ninth ODI hundred off 92 balls, in the 31st over, his first ODI century since March last year.

Shortly afterwards Kohli reached his 25th ODI hundred off 84 balls in the 36th over, his second successive hundred of the series.  At this juncture, it was about one of these two batsmen finishing it off. 

But Dhawan was caught at backward point in the 38th over with John Hastings breaking the 212-run stand.  It started a downslide for India as skipper MS Dhoni was out for a three-ball duck, caught behind in the same over for a double blow.

Perhaps the biggest jolt came when Kohli holed out straight to mid-off in the 40th over, kane Richardson finally striking. Wickets then tumbling as Australia wrapped up a fine win.

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