Two bad, two good as India complete 4-1 series win over Australia

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Rohit Sharma's 14th ODI ton led the way for India.

India maintained their impressive ODI form which has seen them recently climb to the top of the ICC rankings as they captured their sixth consecutive bilateral series win in the 50-over format after their 4-1 win over Australia.

Virat Kohli’s men have not lost a bilateral series ever since their 4-1 defeat at the hands of the same opponents in 2015-16.

On Sunday, India beat the visitors comprehensively by seven wickets in the final ODI between the two side at Nagpur after a century from vice captain Rohit Sharma.

We look at the two good and two bad performances of the match on a two-paced pitch where the ball did not come on to the bat as well as the batsmen would have wanted.

The Good

Axar Patel stifles Australia with his three crucial wickets

The 23-year-old spinner was ruled out for the first three matches due to an injury and was a tad expensive in India’s defeat at Bengaluru.

On Sunday though, the left-armer was in full flow on a pitch where the spinners found much joy. He dismissed the well set David Warner after the left-hander chipped the ball straight down to Manish Pandey at long-off.

Patel’s extra bounce deceived Peter Handscomb when the right-hander tried to sweep across the line on the one-side. The spinner then showed quick thinking to clean bowl Travis Head after the Aussie attempted a premeditated sweep.

All in all, three wickets and just 38 runs conceded off his 10 overs caps off a good return for Patel in the final ODI.

Patel's three wickets dented Australia's charge.

Patel’s three wickets dented Australia’s charge.

Rohit Sharma’s breaches 6,000 run mark on way to 14th ODI century

This was a day which clearly belonged to the Indian vice-captain. On a two-paced pitch where most of the batsman found the going tough, Sharma made batting look effortlessly easy as he became the ninth Indian to breach 6,000 runs in the 50-over format. The right-handed batsman took 14 balls to get off the mark but then put on India’s third consecutive 100-run partnership for the opening wicket with Ajinkya Rahane.

Sharma was particularly punishing on Zampa who bore the brunt of the Indian’s aggression. The 30-year-old brought up his 14th ODI century in style with a six as he took India to the doors of victory before eventually perishing to Zampa for a sensational 109-ball 125.

Sharma’s innings contained 11 boundaries and five sixes on a Vidharbha Cricket Association ground with longer boundaries than usual compared to other Indian stadiums.

The bad

Peter Handscomb

The Aussie top-order batsman was flown in a last minute cover for the then injured Aaron Finch at the start of the series. After not being picked for the first three ODIs, he played a decent knock of 43 in Australia’s win at Bengaluru.

On Sunday though, after a strong start from the openers, Handscomb failed to push on the initiative for Australia. With the Indian spinners asserting their dominance early on, a watchful innings was required from the 26-year-old.

After skipper Steve Smith had been dismissed while attempting a sweep, a dangerous shot in the conditions, Handscomb committed the same error shortly after.

In the end he was deceived by the extra bounce from Patel as he skied a catch to Rahane to be dismissed for just 13 runs and leave Australia in a precarious position of 118-4.

Handscomb played a reckless shot to leave Australia in trouble.

Handscomb played a reckless shot to leave Australia in trouble.

Matthew Wade

The Australian wicket-keeper has not had the best of series so far with both bat and gloves. So much so, that he was dropped in the Indore ODI in favour of Handscomb who is not a regular wicket-keeper.

Wade had a forgettable day at the office on Sunday once again to cap off a dismal series. Coming in to bat at the death, the left-hander was unable to provide the momentum in the final overs as his mini cameo of an 18-ball 20 was not enough to get Australia over the 250-run mark.

He had an ever poorer time behind the stumps in the second half of the innings. Wade has found wicket-keeping to be a tough task on the subcontinent pitches and he provided centurion Sharma with a life-line after dropping a sitter.

The wicket-keeper failed to collect a low catch to his right after Sharma had tried to glide a wide-delivery down to third-man.

The 29-year-old’s role in the side could be questioned once the inquest into Australia’s series defeat starts.

Another poor display by Wade behind the stumps.

Another poor display by Wade behind the stumps.

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