India were set a challenging target of 314 by the tourists but they ultimately fell short by some distance despite the brilliance of Kohli.
The 30-year-old registered his 41st ODI ton in India’s total 281 and almost conjured a rabbit out of the hat for the hosts in the face of a dominant Aussie display.
Here, we take a closer look at Kohli’s sensational batting display at Ranchi.
BALLS FACED: 95
With India chasing a stiff target of 314, Kohli was called into action early with Shikhar Dhawan falling in the fourth over.
Following a top-order collapse that saw India reduced to 27-3, Kohli formed brief partnerships with MS Dhoni and then Kedar Jadhav to resurrect the hosts’ innings.
The India skipper looked to be in magnificent touch as wickets continued to fall at the other end and brought up his 41st ODI ton off just 85 deliveries before stepping up another gear.
The right-hander looked to be single-handedly dragging India towards victory before he was dismissed by Adam Zampa for the second time in the series. With him, disappeared any hopes of an India win.
Virat Kohli last 26 ODI innings (Most recent first)— JSK (@imjsk27) March 8, 2019
100 batting, 116, 44, 60, 43, 45, 46, 104, 3, 33*, 16, 107, 157*, 140, 71, 45, 75, 129*, 36, 75, 160*, 46*, 112, 113, 29, 121
Innings - 26
Runs - 2026*
AVG - 101.3
100s - 11
50s - 4#Unreal#GOAT #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/28l1KNkVpA
Nobody orchestrates a run-chase better than Kohli in limited-overs cricket and the India skipper put on another master-class at Ranchi on Friday despite the eventual loss.
While the rest of India’s top-order batsmen crumbled under the scoreboard pressure, Kohli looked to be batting on a different surface altogether. As has been the case in many of his match-winning knocks, Kohli barely played a shot in anger before he breached three figures.
That he brought up his century off just 85 deliveries without playing a single risky shot speaks volumes about Kohli’s craftsmanship. All of his 14 boundaries prior to reaching his ton were completely controlled and it is only after he crossed the 100-run mark did Kohli go on the offensive and strike his first six.
While the blame for India’s loss rests primarily on the shoulders of the remaining top-order batsmen, Kohli will be disappointed to once again give away his wicket to spin.
For the third time in Australia’s ongoing limited-overs tour of India, Kohli was dismissed by Zampa who now seems to have the number of the star batsman.
It is the continuation of a worrying trend for Kohli against leg-spinners. It was Adil Rashid who troubled him in England and now Zampa has done the same in both Australia and in India.
It is not to say that Kohli isn’t a good player of spin but he always seems susceptible to falling to the slower bowlers despite looking in complete control otherwise.
VERDICT – 9/10
If not for the failure of the rest of the batsmen, we could very well be lauding Kohli for anchoring another successful run-chase. The India skipper was the only batsman to put his hand up in a challenging chase with his ruthless ability to convert starts into centuries showing no signs of abating.
At this rate, Kohli could very well topple Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI tons by the end of the year which would be an astonishing achievement.
Kohli looked a cut above the batsmen from both sides on Friday but unfortunately for India, he was let down poorly by the rest of his team-mates. The perfectionist that he is, Kohli will be disappointed to not carry on until the end but he can still hold his head high.
Skipper Virat Kohli’s 41st ODI ton went in vain as India were bowled out for 281 runs in reply to Australia’s formidable 313-5.
Chasing 314 for victory, India were given three early jolts by the Aussie bowlers. Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan’s poor form in the series continued with both the batsmen dismissed inside the first five overs by Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson respectively.
Ambati Rayudu didn’t last too long either with the right-hander castled for just two runs by Cummins. Local boy MS Dhoni gave the Ranchi crowd something to shout about with a brief stand alongside Kohli who was looking in magnificent touch at the other end.
However, Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa ended the brief resistance offered by Dhoni and subsequently Kedar Jadhav to put the visitors back in control. Kohli continued to battle single-handedly with the India skipper bringing up his 41st ODI ton off just 85 deliveries but once he fell to Zampa for the second time in the series, the writing was on the wall for the hosts.
Richardson, Zampa and Cummins picked up three wickets apiece as the hosts were ultimately bowled out in the penultimate over.
Earlier, Australia had been made to bat first by Kohli in anticipation of some dew later in the night. The Aussies started off excellently with openers Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja putting on a 193-run stand.
Having managed to score 37 runs in the second ODI, Finch looked back at his best on Friday with the Australian skipper registering his first half-century in 22 limited-overs innings. The right-hander was looking good for a superb ton before his innings was cut short on 93 by Kuldeep Yadav.
Khawaja, though, continued to march on with the left-hander bringing up his maiden ODI ton in the process. India’s bowlers fought back strongly in the latter half of Australia’s innings with Kuldeep picking up three wickets in what was an expensive spell.
Mohammed Shami ended Khawaja’s stay on 104 before Glenn Maxwell played a superb 47-run (33) cameo. After the visitors lost Maxwell to a run-out following some excellent work from Ravindra Jadeja, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb fell in quick succession. Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey struck a few late blows in the death overs to ultimately take Australia to 313-5.
Australia now trail 1-2 in the five-match series with the fourth ODI set to take place in Mohali on Sunday.
Usman Khawaja: 104 (113)
Aaron Finch: 93 (99)
India: 281 all out
Virat Kohli: 123 (95)
Pat Cummins: 3-37
The controversy occurred during the 32nd over of Australia’s innings when Kuldeep Yadav wrapped Aaron Finch on the pads before breaking into a loud appeal. On-field umpire C Shamshuddin had no hesitation in raising his finger but the decision was immediately reviewed by the Aussie skipper.
Although the on-field umpire’s original decision was upheld, there seemed to be a glaring error in the ball-tracking technology used for the DRS review. To the naked eye, Kuldeep’s delivery looked to be pitching somewhere between the off and middle stumps before striking Finch on the pads.
However, ball-tracking actually showed the delivery to be pitching on leg-stump, a sight which had the commentators and several players on social media in bewilderment.
The ultimate decision might have well been correct but the discrepancy in the ball-tracking technology is bound to generate another talking point in the ongoing DRS implementation debate.
Finch missed out on a superb ton in the end by seven runs but the Australian skipper will be delighted to finally find some form after what has been a horrendous last few months with the bat for him.