Not for the first time in recent years, Virat Kohli’s India lost the first match of a bilateral cricket series only to hit back and win the next two. India comfortably won the decider of the 3-match series against Australia in Bengaluru, and clinched the series 2-1 after getting thrashed in the opening game at Mumbai. The comeback was full of character and gumption – traits that keep appearing under Kohli’s leadership. Again, though, the team depended heavily on the top order to win them the match. With Shikhar Dhawan injured, India were batting with a player short. It was Kohli and Rohit Sharma again who rose to the occasion. A 7-wicket win saw India starting the new decade with a hard-fought ODI series win over one of the top teams in the world. Here are some interesting numbers and facts from India’s victory.
– Virat Kohli’s gentlemanly bow to the cameras after his stunning catch to dismiss Marnus Labuschagne was his fourth gracious public gesture in the last one year. Three of them have come against Australia, a team whose supporters once riled him so much that he showed them the middle finger in the middle of a match.
– KL Rahul opening the batting in Bengaluru meant that he batted in three different positions in the three-match series. He came in at 3 in the opening game to score 47. He was moved down the order to number 5 for the next game, and went on to score a whirlwind 81. In the final game, Dhawan’s injury meant he had to open the batting. This display of versatility earned him the nickname ‘Swiss army knife’. But it is his wicket-keeping after Rishabh Pant’s injury that has been the biggest takeaway for an Indian side looking looking to accommodate an extra all-rounder. Can he follow the footsteps of his illustrious namesake and go on to keep wickets full time in ODIs?
– India’s 2-1 win came after losing the first match. Last year in March, India won the first two matches of the ODI series only to lose the next three, and consequently the series 2-3 at home. This series did not feature Steve Smith and David Warner.
– Rohit Sharma’s 118 was his 29th ODI century, putting him fourth on the list of all-time ODI century scorers behind Sachin Tendulkar (49), Virat Kohli (44) and Ricky Ponting (30). Rohit also became the third fastest to 9,000 runs in ODI cricket, after Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
– Rohit Sharma’s hundred was his eighth against Australia in ODIs in 40 innings. Kohli too has eight ODI hundreds against the Aussies. Only Tendulkar (9) has more.
– The century partnership between Kohli and Sharma was their eleventh in ODI cricket. They are now only behind Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar (17). The two also went past Rohit and Dhawan’s tally of 4,847 runs scored together.
– Australia’s strike bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins leaked 130 runs from 16 wicketless overs. In comparison, the two spinners, Zampa and Ashton Agar went for only 82 runs (fetching two wickets) in their 20 overs. It was Starc’s second consecutive game where he went wicketless. He has gone for more than seven runs an over thrice out of his last four ODI matches. Starc was also dismissed for a duck in Bengaluru after being promoted to no. 5 to score some quick runs.
– Jasprit Bumrah went wicketless for the second time in three matches this series. Returning from a long injury layoff, he ended up with only one wicket in the series. But his economy of under 4 in the final game was impressive. He kept piling on pressure on the Aussie batsmen, which played a part in fellow paceman Mohammed Shami picking up 4 wickets.
– Virat Kohli won his ninth player of the series award (in 56 ODI series played), and climbed to third on the all-time list behind Tendulkar (15) and Sanath Jayasuriya (11). This was his sixteenth player of the series award across formats (three in Tests, six in T20Is), putting him only behind Tendulkar’s twenty (five in Tests, fifteen in ODIs).
– Rohit Sharma has now scored the highest number of runs in ODI cricket since the beginning of 2019. Behind him are Virat Kohli and Shai Hope.
– The 2-1 victory was India’s fifteenth bilateral ODI series win in their last seventeen series, since the beginning of 2017. This fabulous run includes only two defeats, one against England in England (2-1) and the other against Australia at home (2-3). They have won series in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka.
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