Indian bowlers had restricted Australia to 286 for 9 and while this total was not beyond their reach, Shikhar Dhawan had injured his shoulder while fielding and there were doubts over his participation in the rest of the game. This put a lot of pressure on KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to not only keep their wits about them, but also to keep pace with the asking run rate.
Rohit Sharma was at his flamboyant best and he found solid support in Virat Kohli. After the loss of KL Rahul, this duo was not only smart and calculative in their approach, but also kept the asking rate under control. Rohit notched up his 29th ODI century and the captain and vice-captain added 100 runs for the second wicket. This was the 11th century stand between these two – this is the second-highest by any pair in the format. Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar lead this list with 17 century stands in 91 innings.
Rohit and Kohli went past the Australia duo of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden who had ten century stands in 52 innings. The partnership lay the base of an emphatic India win and once again, established the supremacy of India’s top order.
“We are quite experienced players, and we were one short in Shikhar today. We got a very good start, and when KL got out, it was a tricky situation because the ball was turning and gripping. We had to play deep, and this is how we have played in the last 4-5 years. This is what experience helps. It’s quite enjoyable batting with Rohit, but more importantly, a comprehensive win,” captain Kohli said after the match.
“Once KL got out, it needed nobody better than the captain himself. The talk we had in the middle was that one of us wanted to keep going. At no stage, did we want the momentum to go towards the opposition, I was middling the ball well, and I said I would be the one to take the chances. Days like this, if it comes off, it looks good. If we had lost a wicket in the middle, it would have been different,” Rohit Sharma reflected on the innings and the strategy adopted by them.