India turns from zeros to heroes within a week

By Kersi Meher-Homji

What a change of fortunes in six days! Australia crushed India by 10 wickets in the first One Day International (ODI) in Mumbai last Tuesday. Everything looked rosy red for the Aussies with openers David Warner and skipper Aaron Finch hitting unbeaten centuries and dark and gloomy for Virat Kohli’s men.

But there was a phenomenal turnabout in the next six days. In the second ODI at Rajkot on 17th January, India turned the tables to level the series one all.

Now to the climax. In the third and final ODI at Bengaluru on Sunday the 19th, India triumphed to win the topsy-turvy series 2-1.

First ODI in Mumbai

With opener Shikhar Dhawan stroking 74 runs, India totaled 255. Australia’s dashing openers Warner (128 not out) and Finch (110 not out) reached the target as the Aussies won by 10 wickets with 74 balls in hand. Warner was adjudged Man of the Match.

India was humiliated. Will they stage a comeback?

Second ODI in Rajkot

Yes, they did. India amassed 6 for 340 with Dhawan belting 96, Kohli 78 and Lokesh Rahul 80. Australia replied strongly and were in the hunt at 3 for 220 with 76 balls remaining. But spinner Kuldeep Yadav dismissed Alex Carey (18 runs) and Steve Smith (98) in two balls and the tide turns India’s way. Fast-medium bowler Mohammed Shami took three wickets and Australia was dismissed for 304. India won by 36 runs to level the series. Man of the match: Rahul.

Third and final ODI in Bengaluru

Australia batted first and made 9 for 286 (Steve Smith 131, Marus Labuschagne 54, Shami 4 for 63). With in-form opener Dhawan injured, Rahul opened with Rohit Sharma. Sharma was in splendid form smashing 119 runs. Kohli scored 89 and newcomer Shreyas Iyer 44 not out as India totaled 3 for 289 to win by seven wickets with 15 balls in hand.

Series won by India 2-1. Sharma was made Man of the Match and Kohli Man of the Series.

The moral of the series? Never say never!

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