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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Dhawan, Kohli hit tons as India chase down 350 to level Aus series

Dhawan, Kohli hit tons as India chase down 350 to level Aus series

Last updated on: October 30, 2013 22:11 IST

India rode on Virat Kohli's brutal unbeaten 115 and Shikhar Dhawan's 100 to pull off a sensational six-wicket victory over Australia in the do-or-die sixth One-Day International and level the seven-match series 2-2, in Nagpur, on Wednesday.

Chasing a mammoth 351, the Indians blazed away on a belter of a track at the VCA stadium in Jamtha to overhaul the target with three balls to spare.

- Scorecard

The manner in which the home side’s batsmen went about the task brought back memories of the awesome victory in the second ODI of the series in Jaipur, on October 16, when they overhauled a stiff 360 -- the second highest successful run chase ever in ODI history.

Dhawan (100), Rohit Sharma (79) and Kohli, who, in the process, hit the third fastest ODI hundred by an Indian, off just 61 balls, were the architects of the victory, which restored the balance in the series after the Ranchi and Cuttack ODIs were washed out.

George Bailey (156) and Shane Watson (102) had earlier in the evening set the tone for a high-scoring affair with scintillating centuries as Australia put a listless Indian bowling attack to the sword to post an imposing 350 for six after being sent in to bat.

Watson hit 13 fours and three sixes in scoring 102 off 94 balls, while the in-form Bailey was equally impressive with a career-best 156, his second ODI ton, off 115 balls. His brilliant innings contained half a dozen sixes and 13 fours.

Virat KohliIndia replied in stunning fashion, with Dhawan registering his fourth ODI hundred in his 24th match, and Kohli his 17th in his 118th.

Dhawan faced 102 balls in his innings and hit 11 boundaries, while Kohli's unbeaten knock was off just 66 balls, studded with 18 fours and a six.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (25 not out) hit the winning runs -- a two -- as India finished with 351 for four.

With the scores locked 2-2, the seventh ODI in Bangalore on Saturday will serve as the summit showdown of the series, which has already seen a phenomenal 2565 runs being scored (excluding the 295 scored by Australia in the abandoned fourth match at Ranchi).

Earlier, Watson and Bailey compiled the second-highest third-wicket stand, of 168, in ODIs against India to help the visitors register their fourth 300-plus total in the series, which saw the sixth ODI at Cuttack being totally washed out.

The home team started off well, sending back openers Phil Hughes (13) and Aaron Finch (20) before the score crossed 50, but was pushed to the backseat as Watson and Bailey launched a superb counter-attack.

The duo simply tore apart the clueless Indian bowling attack that fielded three frontline spinners for the first time in the seven-match series, after deciding to go in with Amit Mishra to partner R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Later, after the dismissal of Watson and Glen Maxwell (9), Adam Voges (44 not out) helped his captain add another 120 runs off only 80 balls for the fifth wicket to complete India's misery on a good batting track.

While the 32-year-old Watson was all power, Bailey, who is the team's most consistent batsman in the series, again dominated the home team attack to notch up his fourth 50-plus score in five innings.

India had the visitors under check in the first 20 overs, restricting Australia to 83 for 2 but the middle overs were totally dominated by Watson and Bailey who compiled the second-best-ever third-wicket stand for their country against the hosts.

The 168-run partnership, that came off just 142 balls, was only the second-highest after Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn's unfinished 234 in the 2003 World Cup final at Johannesburg and the eighth 150-plus stand for all wickets against India.

Watson, who compiled his maiden hundred against India and ninth in ODIs overall from 170 games, looked assured in his footwork against the trio of home team spinners, who bowled the middle overs.

Bailey was as solid as he has been in the series so far and showed his supreme touch quite early by hitting Mohd Shami for three successive boundaries in the bowler's opening spell.

India, who started well after Mahendra Singh Dhoni had asked the visitors to take first strike on winning the toss, were pushed on the backfoot by the aggression shown by the two batsmen.

All the bowlers were punished mercilessly, with Ashwin emerging the most successful with a haul of two for 64 in his 10-over quota along with Jadeja, who took two wickets in the innings' last over after conceding 68 runs.

Mishra, who was treated with absolute disdain after a watchful start by Watson and Bailey, conceded 78 runs respectively.

Jadeja grabbed two wickets in his and the innings' last over.

Shami, who made an impressive beginning when he was given a chance in the rained-out Ranchi ODI, was very expensive and finished with 1 for 66 while Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, back in the squad after missing out the Ranchi ODI, had final figures of one for 42, the most economical among all bowlers.

Watson was lucky to have been caught off a no-ball off Jadeja as he mistimed a heave to leg, but, otherwise, he was totally in control.

He was harsh on the three spinners and lofted Mishra, who began impressively before being carted around for two leg side sixes out of the three Watson hit along with 13 fours in his punitive innings.

Watson reached his hundred in great style, hitting the expensive Shami for three successive fours before the bowler got his revenge off the fourth by clean bowling him through

the gate.

Australia lost Glen Maxwell immediately afterwards when Ashwin, who was again guilty of bowling a number of hittable balls, had him caught just inside the boundary line by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar for his second wicket.

But none could stop Bailey from marching on to score the second hundred of his 34-match ODI career after missing out the landmark earlier in the series.

Australia added 137 runs in the last 15 overs, including 54 in the last five.

Image: Virat Kohli during his scintillating knock at the VCA stadium in Nagpur

Photograph: BCCI