23 January, Sydney
Riding on a splendid unbeaten century by young Manish Pandey and Rohit Sharma’s 99, India chased down a mammoth 331-run target in a nail biting finish to win the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI) by six wickets against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground here on Saturday.
En route to his maiden ODI ton, Pandey smashed one six and eight boundaries to remain unbeaten in his 81-ball knock and steer his team to victory. Rohit struck one six and nine boundaries in his 108-ball knock, while fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan scored 78.
Batting first, Australia posted 330/7 in 50 overs, thanks to centuries from David Warner (122) and Mitchell Marsh (102 not out). But India chased down the total to post 331/4 with two balls remaining with the help of three superb innings.
Despite losing the fifth ODI, Australia take the series 4-1 after a dominant show in the entire series.
Chasing a challenging total, India got off to a flying start with both in-form openers Rohit and Dhawan smashing the bowlers to all parts of the ground to stay ahead of the required run-rate.
At the end of 10 overs, India piled up 68 without losing a wicket. The duo pressed on, bringing up the 100-run partnership for the first wicket in the 16th over to put pressure on the opposition. But soon after scoring a quick-fire half-century, Dhawan, trying to up the scoring rate fell in the 19th over to Hastings.
The visitors received a double blow when Hastings dismissed the in-form Virat Kohli for just eight. Kohli tried drive an outside off stump delivery, but only managed to edge it to keeper Matthew Wade to have India in trouble at 134/2 in 20.2 overs.
From there on it was a massive task for the middle order batsmen to give company to Rohit and incoming batsman Pandey did the exact thing. The duo piled on 97-run partnership for the third wicket.
As Rohit was looking to notch up his 11th ODI ton, he was once again dismissed by Hastings just one short of his third century of the series.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (34 off 42) provided support to Pandey from the other end.
Earlier on in the day, put into bat by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the hosts were in the back foot right in the very first over as Ishant trapped Aaron Finch leg-before off the sixth ball to have Australia at 6/1.
Incoming batsman and skipper Steve Smith (28) gave good company to Warner but his stay in the crease did not last too long. Debutant Jasprit Bumrah’s short delivery on off was misjudged by Finch, only to have him caught at midwicket by Rohit Sharma. Australia were 64/2 in 11.5 overs.
From there on, the visitors bowled some tight spells and were lucky enough to have another in-form batsman George Bailey (6) and Shaun Marsh (7) back in the pavilion inside the 22nd over to have Australia in a spot of bother at 117/4.
Warner on the other hand, kept piling on runs as he kept on losing teammates in the other end.
With four wickets down and 25 overs to go in the innings, the home side needed someone to stick around along with Warner and incoming batsman Mitchell was the saviour for the hosts. The youngster not only sneaked in the ones and twos, but also managed to put pressure on the Indian bowlers with some handy boundaries.
The duo piled on a 118-run partnership for the fifth wicket to help the Australians get close to the 250-run mark. Warner fell in the 39th over while trying to up the scoring rate, but the damage was done by then.
Matthew Wade (36 off 27) too smashed the ball in his short lived innings. Debutant Jasprit Bumrah (2/40) impressed in his first international outing alongside Ishant Sharma (2/60).
The two teams will now play a three-match Twenty20 series, which will commence in Adelaide on January 26.