Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli sizzle in series decider

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli sizzle in series decider
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli conjured up classy hundreds to fire India to a record 337 for six in the series decider against New Zealand here today.

Rohit and Kohli, who became the first ever pairing to complete four double hundred partnerships in ODIs, were simply unstoppable against a bowling attack that looked pretty ordinary on the day.

Their spectacular showing also helped India comfortably beat the previous highest score at Green Park, 303 for five that South Africa had scored against them two years ago.

The destructive duo was in complete control ever since Shikhar Dhawan (14) departed in the seventh over and ended up with a record breaking 230-run stand off 211 balls.

While Kohli had already hit a fine hundred in the series opener, Sharma rose to the occasion after failing in the first two games after New Zealand put the home team in.

The last time he played an ODI here, he made 150, and two years on, the stylish right-hander from Mumbai gave the packed crowd an afternoon to remember.

There are not many prettier sights in cricket than watching Sharma bat in full flow.

And he did look in fine form, right from the time he slashed a gentle loosener from Tim Southee over point in the first over of the match.

The Kanpur pitch, usually slow and low, played well with the ball coming on to the bat nicely and someone of the class of Kohli and Sharma, made full use of the friendly conditions.

The signs were ominous for the opposition when Sharma easily picked pacer Adam Milne for a huge six over midwicket.

He gave the same treatment to left-arm spinner Santner in his first over, collecting two boundaries with a cut and sweep before getting to his 50 off 52 balls.

Kohli, on his part, began with two crisp boundaries off Southee, one through the covers and the next one a whip over midwicket.

Without taking much risk, the star pair managed to get an odd boundary in the middle overs and by the time Sharma got to his 15th ODI hundred in 33rd over, India were cruising at 183 for one.

Sharma was finding the fence more frequently than Kohli as he hammered 18 fours to go with two maximums.

The two batsmen changed gears in the 36th over and the bowler at the receiving end this time was pacer Trent Boult, who leaked 17 runs in that over including four fours.

The next over saw them picking three fours off Grandhomme with the last one getting Kohli past the 9000-run mark in ODIs, making him the sixth Indian to do so and fastest to get there overall.

After Sharma fell to a tired shot in the 42nd over, Kohli breezed to his 32nd hundred and his second in the series, with a single off Santner.

His remarkable feat brought a passionate fan into the field of play but before he could get close to his hero, the security officials took care of him. Kohlis innings comprised nine fours and six.

Hardik Pandya came out to bat at four ahead of Dinesh Karthik but fell cheaply. The next man, M S Dhoni, smashed three boundaries before mistiming one to be caught at short third-man.

The last 15 overs fetched 141 runs for the hosts. The most expensive bowler for New Zealand proved to be Boult, who leaked 81 runs in 10 overs - his worst figures in 50-over cricket.
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