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Rohit’s hundred goes in vain as India lose series-opener

India's Rohit Sharma raises his bat after making 100 runs against Australia during their one day international cricket match in Sydney, on Saturday. – AP/PTI
 SYDNEY, Jan 12: Rohit Sharma’s individual brilliance was not enough to make up for a floundering top and middle order as India suffered a 34-run defeat at the hands of a resilient Australia in the first One-day International, here on Saturday.

Sharma conjured up a magnificent 133 of 129 balls for his 22nd ODI hundred but eventually it only helped in reducing the defeat-margin as India ended up at 254 for nine while chasing a 289-run target.

Three of India’s top four batsmen could not reach double-digit and lasted a mere 11 balls.

With 10 fours and six sixes, Sharma reached his hundred off 110 balls, equalling Sourav Ganguly’s record of 22 ODI centuries and is now behind only Sachin Tendulkar (49) and Virat Kohli (38).

India were gasping after losing three batsmen at a single-digit score of four before Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (51) combined to stitch together a 137-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Debutant Jason Behrendorff broke the partnership by sending back Dhoni, who became only the fifth Indian batsman to complete 10,000 runs in ODI cricket during the course of his knock that came off 96 balls.

Tendulkar, Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Kohli are the other batsmen to achieve the feat.

The hosts owe their 1-0 lead in the three-match series to a collective batting effort by their middle-order batsmen, specially Peter Handscomb, who switched gears in time to steer his side to 288 for five with his 73-run knock.

Handscomb and Marcus Stoinis (47 not out) grabbed the momentum with their 68-run stand for the fifth wicket as Australia scored 93 runs in the last 10 overs.

Usman Khawaja (59) and Shaun Marsh (54) also scored half-centuries for the hosts who lost skipper Aaron Finch (6) in a slow start after electing to bat.

Young paceman Jhye Richardson (4/26) rocked the Indian middle order by dismissing India skipper Virat Kohli (3) and Ambati Rayudu (0) in space of three balls and later added wickets of Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja in a career-best performance.

First, Behrendorff (2-39) trapped Shikhar Dhawan lbw for a first-ball duck before Richardson swung into action. Kohli was caught at short square leg, and then two balls later Rayudu (0) was trapped plumb lbw, as the Indian top-order was destroyed.

It put huge brakes on the scoring even as Sharma and Dhoni struggled to get going. So much so, India managed only a paltry 21-3 in the first ten overs.

Their 50-stand came off 82 balls, while they took India past 100 in the 26th over even as Australia started to feel the pressure.

Sharma reached his half-century off 62 balls, while Dhoni reached his 68th ODI half-century off 93 balls. Thanks to the initial caution, India were only placed at 141-4 in the 32nd over, when Dhoni was trapped lbw by Behrendorff.

Sharma was starting to run out of partners thereafter as Richardson castled Dinesh Karthik in the 40th over.

The run-chase came to an informal end by the 46th over as Ravindra Jadeja (8) and Sharma holed out in the space of ten balls. Marcus Stoinis (2-66) dismissed Sharma, and India’s hopes perished with him for there was too much for the remaining tail-enders to do. – PTI


Australia Innings: Alex Carey c R Sharma b K Yadav 24, Aaron Finch b B Kumar 6, Usman Khawaja lbw b R Jadeja 59, Shaun Marsh c M Shami b K Yadav 54, Peter Handscomb c Dhawan b B Kumar 73, Marcus Stoinis not out 47, Glenn Maxwell not out 11. Extras (B-4, LB-2, NB-2, WD-6): 14. Total (For 5 wickets in 50 overs): 288. Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-41, 3-133, 4-186, 5-254. Bowling: B Kumar 10-0-66-2, K Ahmed 8-0-55-0, M Shami 10-0-46-0, K Yadav 10-0-54-2, R Jadeja 10-0-48-1, A Rayudu 2-0-13-0. More – PTI

India innings: Rohit Sharma c Maxwell b Stoinis 133, Shikhar Dhawan lbw b Behrendorff 0, Virat Kohli c Stoinis b Jhye Richardson 3, Ambati Rayudu lbw b Jhye Richardson 0, MS Dhoni lbw b Behrendorff 51, Dinesh Karthik b Jhye Richardson 12, Ravindra Jadeja c Shaun Marsh b Jhye Richardson 8, Bhuvneshwar Kumar not out 29, Kuldeep Yadav c Khawaja b Siddle 3, Mohammed Shami c Maxwell b Stoinis 1, Extras: (lb-7, w-6, nb-1). Total: 254/9 in 50 overs. Fall of wickets: 1-1, 4-2, 4-3, 141-4, 176-5, 213-6, 221-7, 247-8, 254-9. Bowling: Jason Behrendorff 10-2-39-2, Jhye Richardson 10-2-26-4, Peter Siddle 8-0-48-1, Nathan Lyon 10-1-50-0, Marcus Stoinis 10-0-66-2, Glenn Maxwell 2-0-18-0. – PTI

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