2nd ODI: Another Rohit ton, another Indian defeat


For the second time in four days, Rohit Sharma caressed his way to a century against his favourite opposition, statistically, to take India past 300. For the second time in four days, Rohit ended up wearing a forlorn look as Australia chased over 300. For the third time in seven ODIs, Rohit ended up scoring an ODI century in defeat.

At the Gabba on Friday, Australia were driven to a seven-wicket win with an over to spare thanks to fifties from Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and George Bailey and a pesky 46 from Steven Smith. They lead the five-match-series 2-0, with Sunday’s game in Adelaide a must-win for an Indian side lacking tooth with the ball and today having suffered a severe bout of slippery fingers.

How did it come to this? Two periods stand out. First, when India’s last seven overs produced just 48 runs for the loss of five wickets. Second, when Marsh – getting a chance in ODIs after almost a year due to David Warner’s paternity leave – was dropped four times during the process of putting on a century opening stand with Finch. Seeking a win to keep their series chances healthy, India lost steam at the end of their innings and then had too much catching up to once they eventually dismissed Marsh for 71. Hardly breaking a sweat, Bailey took control once Smith fell in the 41st over and finished the job.

Marsh lived a charmed life, dropped on 19, 25, 57 and 67. Those four catches aside, India weren’t helped by their most experienced fast bowlers. Ishant Sharma, playing his first ODI in nearly a year, bowled a shocking eight wides and dropped the easiest of catches at long-off to give Marsh his first reprieve. Umesh Yadav supplied the openers plenty on the pads, and his bowling the death, while zippy, was wayward.

The first 20 overs were a mixture of defence, scampered singles and some crisp driving and cutting as Australia’s new opening pair got adjusted to batting with each other. Marsh and Finch were fed enough on the legs to pluck off singles and five legbyes further indicate how astray the quicker bowlers were. Marsh chose to go hard when offered width, and it was when he was cutting Ravindra Jadeja that Rahane missed a very hard and fast chance in front of his face at slip. In the 21st over, Finch took off Umesh for easy runs, thumping a four over mid-off’s head and clipping four and six when the bowler veered legside; the second shot was an effortless pick-up six that gave Finch his fifty in 70 balls.

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