Virat Kohli’s magnificent century helped India level the three-match ODI series against Australia in Adelaide on Tuesday. The India skipper scored 104 runs off 112 balls which took India past Australia’s total of 298/9 with six wickets in hand. MS Dhoni, who has been criticized for his finishing skills in the last few months, played a cool and calm 54-ball 55-run knock.
Rohit Sharma played an opener’s role to perfection once again in the second ODI. He laid down the perfect foundation for the likes of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni to build on and take India over the line. The Mumbai batsman, may not have scored a half-century, but he strung crucial partnerships with Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. First, he shared a 42-run stand with his opening partner and then a 54-run partnership with the Indian captain. Rohit notched 43 runs off 52 balls.
Shikhar Dhawan looked in supreme touch in the second ODI. The left-hand batsman played with a lot of freedom and struck five boundaries in his 28-ball innings. However, he got carried away with playing too many shots and presented a catch off Jason Behrendorff’s bowling and got out for 32 runs. Dhawan will be hoping to stay at the crease for a longer time and help India post or chase down big totals with ease.
Virat Kohli scored his regulation ODI century in the second ODI. India had a touch task of chasing down a target of 299, but Kohli kept his cool and played proper cricketing shots whenever boundaries were required.He scored his 39th ODI century and his 64th international hundred, going past Kumar Sangakkara in the most centuries list in all formats. However, Kohli would have been disappointed with himself with the way he was dismissed. He flicked a delivery from Jhye Richardson straight to the fielder at deep mid-wicket. The Indian captain will surely look to play more sensibly in the next match.
Ambati Rayudu hasn’t been up to the mark in this ODI series. If Rayudu has to be India’s number four at the World Cup then the batsman has to start playing confidently. He scored 24 runs off 36 balls in the second ODI. He looked very scratchy during his innings. If Rayudu fails in the third ODI, then the Indian team management may start looking at other options for the number four position.
After being criticized for batting slowly in the first ODI, Dhoni showed everyone once again why he is the best in the business. In the second ODI, Dhoni walked into bat when India need 139 runs from 19.2 overs. The wicketkeeper-batsman started his innings in his regular defensively style, but then in this match, he managed to hit the big shots in the end. He remained unbeaten on 55 from 54 balls after hitting the winning run.
Dinesh Karthik held his nerve and ensured that India cross the line without too much trouble. As Dhoni was tiring in the other end due to the hot weather conditions, Karthik played positively to keep the score board ticking. The middle order batsman, who struck two boundaries in his innings, scored 25 runs in 14 balls. If Karthik continues his form, then India can go into the World Cup with a confident finisher.
Vijay Shankar could replace Mohammed Siraj for the third ODI against Australia. Siraj looked completely out of sorts when he conceded 76 runs in 10 overs. He recorded the highest economy rate by an Indian bowler on ODI debut.
Shankar has shown decent form with the bat in the India A series against New Zealand. He notched scores of 87* and 59. The 27-year-old can chip in with medium pace overs as well. Vijay Shankar is yet to make an ODI debut.
Ravindra Jadeja has bowled brilliantly in this ODI series. The off-spinner has bowled economical spells, returning with figures of 1/48 and 1/49 in the first and second ODIs respectively. Jadeja is bowling on tight line and lengths, helping the Indian captain get through the middle overs without too many issues. Jadeja has improved as a bowler in Tests and ODIs tremendously in the last few months.
Kuldeep Yadav had a disappointing day in the second ODI when he conceded 66 runs for no wicket. The chinaman bowler will surely be raring to bounce back and bowl India to victory in the third and final ODI. He will have to come up with new plans as the Australian batsmen may have deciphered how to read the chinaman’s bowling.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has finally managed to bowl consistently with good rhythm. He bowled exceptionally well in the second ODI with figures of 4/45. First, he dismissed captain Aaron Finch early on in his innings and then came back later to remove set batsmen Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell. The speedster helped India restrict Australia to a score below 300.
Mohammed Shami is having an excellent ODI series. The fast bowler has bowled economical spells in both the matches and also picked up three wickets in the second ODI. Shami has been bowling on good line and lengths consistently and his experience will be very handy in the upcoming ICC World Cup. With Shami in top notch, India’s bowling attack is shaping up well.