Rohit Sharma’s ton goes in vain as India lose 1st ODI
Sydney: 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 on Saturday.
Sharma conjured up a magnificent 133 off 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-digits 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.
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.