Rohit Sharma’s brilliant century goes in vain as India lose series-opener

Australian players celebrating dismissal of M S Dhoni during Ist ODI at Sydney on Saturday.
Australian players celebrating dismissal of M S Dhoni during Ist ODI at Sydney on Saturday.

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 today.
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.
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.
Earlier, India spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2/54) and Jadeja (1/48) shared three wickets between them while pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/66) accounted for two batsmen.
Kumar bowled Finch (6) in the third over, an inswinger slipping in through the gate. (PTI)
Alex Carey (24) made a good start and was looking set for a longer innings, when Yadav outfoxed him in his very first over, caught at slip off a quicker top-spinner. Australia only managed 41-2 in the first 10 overs.
It brought Khawaja and Marsh together, and they put on 92 runs off 111 balls for the third wicket. In doing so, they pushed India to make changes in the middle overs.
Khaleel Ahmed (0/55) had an off day as he struggled with this front-foot and control over line and length.
Khawaja-Marsh pair added 50 in 61 balls as Australia crossed 100 in the 23rd over. Khawaja brought up his fifth ODI half-century off 70 balls, and opened up a bit more to play some attractive sweeps.
But he perished in that manner as Jadeja trapped him lbw in the 29th over, providing a crucial breakthrough for India. Marsh carried on though, and reached his 13th ODI half-century off 65 balls. He put up 53 runs off 55 balls with Handscomb for the fourth wicket.
Their 50-run stand came off only 49 balls as Australia started to show a little more urgency. Australia finally managed to cross 200 in the 42nd over, but had lost Marsh in the process as he holed out off Yadav in the 38th over.
Stoinis’ arrival at the crease had helped press matters as both he and Handscomb opened up with a couple sixes and upped the run-rate.
Handscomb reached his second ODI half-century off 50 balls, helping push Australia past 250 in the 48th over. (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
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.
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
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.