ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) – Virat Kohli made 104 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni an unbeaten 55 from 54 balls as captains past and present guided India to a six-wicket win over Australia in the second one-day international (ODI) on Tuesday, leveling the three-match series at 1-1.
Kohli posted his 39th ODI century, his 24th in a second innings and his sixth against Australia, to lead a perfectly measured run chase which saw India surpass Australia’s total of 298-9 with four balls to spare.
He put on 82 in 13 overs in a critical partnership for the fourth wicket with Dhoni, which steered India at a cautious pace towards a winning total but he was out at a critical moment, with his team still needing 57 from 38 balls.
Former captain Dhoni played a subdued role in support of his successor Kohli as two players with the joint experience of more than 550 ODIs steadily chipped away at Australia’s total.
With Kohli’s untimely dismissal, Dhoni took up the chase and carried India to a victory which will see the series decided tomorrow in the third international at Melbourne.
India came to the final over needing seven runs to win and Dhoni smashed the first ball over the long straight boundaries at the Adelaide Oval for a six which tied the scores, then clinched the win with a single from the next ball.
India was ahead of Australia’s scoring rate for much of its innings, though it became a little bogged down during the partnership between Kohli and Dhoni.
Australia was successful in staunching the flow of boundaries and Dhoni hadn’t hit a four or six in the time he batted with Kohli, preferring to take singles to yield the strike to the younger man.
Kohli evinced every confidence in his ability to manage the chase and he seemed unconcerned when the run rate required crept up above eight, though with plenty of overs at India’s disposal.
He had just begun to step up his scoring rate, taking 13 runs from an over from Jason Behrendorff when he was out. At that point the match was still in the balance and it was clear Dhoni had to find a way to beat Australia’s restrictive field settings.
He announced his intention to do so with a six from the last over bowled by offspinner Nathan Lyon, which signalled to the many India fans in the crowd that the chase was in good hands. But Dhoni, now 37, looked close to exhaustion at times late in his innings, slumping to the ground and receiving treatment from the India team physio with two overs remaining and India still needing 16 runs.
Dhoni was fortunate to have the heady support of Dinesh Karthik, who came to the crease at a difficult moment when Kohil had just fallen. He scored 25 from just 14 balls to ensure India reached its target.