Brisbane, Jan 15:
Star batsman Rohit Sharma (124) slammed his second consecutive ton to guide India to a challenging 308/8 in 50 overs against Australia in the second game of the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series at the Gabba here on Friday.
Rohit smashed 11 boundaries and three sixes in his 127-ball knock as he brought up his 10th ODI century and the fourth in Australia against the hosts in style.
After his unbeaten 171 in the first ODI, the Mumbai batsman notched up his second century of the series to steer India to a comfortable position. He was well supported at the other end by Ajinkya Rahane (89) and Virat Kohli (59).
En route his 124-run knock, Rohit entered his name in the record books by becoming the third batsman to score back-to-back tons against Australia after England’s Graeme Hick and India’s V.V.S. Laxman. It is also the top score by an Indian opener at the Gabba, going past Sachin Tendulkar’s 91 in March, 2008.
James Faulkner (2/64), Joel Paris (1/40), John Hastings (1/46) and Scott Boland (1/64) were the pick of the bowlers for Australia.
Opting to bat first on a flat track where there was nothing much for the quicks, the visitors got off to a disappointing start as opener Shikhar Dhawan got himself out in a shameful fashion while trying to hit a delivery which was outside off stump, only to be caught by wicket-keeper Matthew Wade off the bowling of Joel Paris. India were 9/1 inside three overs.
From there on, just like the first ODI, incoming batsman Kohli and Rohit took on the bowlers and gathered some useful runs in the middle.
The duo also slammed back-to-back 100-plus partnerships as they posted a 125-run stand for the second wicket.
Both batsmen were looking good for yet another big score after striking half-centuries. But Kohli paid dearly for trying to sneak two runs in the last ball of the 24th over. A sharp throw rocketed back to Wade by Kane Richardson caught Kohli inches away from the crease to leave India at 134/2 in 23.5 overs.
Rahane then gave good company to Rohit as the duo notched up a 121-run partnership for the third wicket to help India cross the 250-run mark.
But Rohit’s innings came to an end in the 43rd over in an unlucky manner. Rahane drove a slower delivery back at bowler Faulkner who manage to get a bit of his hand on it, to deflect the ball onto the stumps.
Thereafter, Rahane, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (11), Manish Pandey (6), Ravichandran Ashwin (1) and Ravindra Jadeja (5) all threw their wickets away while looking to up the scoring rate.