Virat Kohli’s 40th century for India helped secure a tight eight-run win over Australia in Nagpur, and earns the prolific batsman Tuesday’s Play of the Day award, writes ANITHA MADIKIZELA.
The Indians showed once again why they’re considered favourites going into the World Cup in England with a brilliant bowling display against the Aussies in a low-scoring encounter.
The home side made a poor start to their innings by losing opener Rohit Sharma for a six-ball duck after being inserted to bat first. As a result, Kohli walked to the crease at the beginning of the second over with India yet to get off the mark.
Wickets kept falling regularly for the men in blue as Kohli struggled to establish any meaningful partnerships and India failed to gain any momentum during their innings. All-rounder Vijay Shankar managed to stick around with his captain and contribute a useful 46 (41 balls, 5×4, 1×6) to register his highest score in ODIs, beating his previous best of 45 against New Zealand earlier in the year.
Forget Vijay Shankar the all rounder, let’s focus on Vijay Shankar the batsman. That innings of 46 was oozing class. 👏👏👏🙏#AUSvIND
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) March 5, 2019
Ravindra Jadeja (21) played a useful knock in the latter stages of the innings by sticking around long enough to put together a 67-run partnership alongside his captain. It was Kohli, however, who stole the show with a calculated and well-executed innings of 116 off 120 balls (10 fours) on a tricky pitch. The classy right-hander scored nearly half his team’s runs as India were bowled out for 250 with eight balls left unused.
Australia’s Pat Cummins saw to the end of Kohli in the 48th over with a slower ball that the Indian smashed straight into the hands of Marcus Stoinis at deep square leg, before finishing with figures of 4-29 in his nine overs.
After 224 ODIs –
Sachin Tendulkar – 8350 runs, ave 42.6, SR 86.45, 23 hundreds, 44 fifties
Virat Kohli – 10686* runs, ave 60.03, SR 92.61, 40 hundreds, 49 fifties.
It isn't even close for the best ODI batsman ever any more. Kohli wins hands down.
— Peter Miller (@TheCricketGeek) March 5, 2019
The Aussies made a promising start with captain Aaron Finch (37) and Usman Khawaja (38) looking good for their 83-run opening stand before Kuldeep Yadav (3-54) struck with his ever-reliable left-arm spin. Peter Handscomb played well for his 48, but will be disappointed to have been run out just two runs short of his half-century.
Stoinis was the pick of the Aussie batsmen with his innings of 52 (55 balls, 4×4, 1×6), but he couldn’t carry his team over the line as the visitors were bowled out for 242 runs – just nine runs short of their target.
Virat Kohli the 💯 machine!https://t.co/C9CyfjBPQG
(His conversion rate of 50-plus scores to hundreds is the best among players with 15+ ODI hundreds) pic.twitter.com/zpAipfQdvu
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) March 5, 2019
The win puts India into a commanding 2-0 lead over the visitors with three matches still left to play in the series. The third ODI will take place on Friday in Ranchi, with Australia desperate for a win in order to avoid India clinching the five-match series.
Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images