Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli © AFP
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli © AFP

Yawn. Rohit Sharma manhandles Australian bowlers. Ajinkya Rahane delights with his stroke-making. Kedar Jadhav gets breakthroughs. Australia are caught in spin web. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are brilliant. India win. Yawn.

Yawn. Plights of a live blogger, I tell you. ‘Boring’ seems to be winner Virat Kohli’s mantra. From his own routine to his consistency, Kohli by his own admission doesn’t mind being boring in order to win and stay at the top.

So what’s new? India reached the pinnacle of ICC ODI Rankings. The expectation from Indian fans was 5-0. India had their moments at Bengaluru as well. The lower middle-order let them down. Post another thrashing in Nagpur, India sealed the series 4-1, avenging Australia’s similar result in the 2015-16 series Down Under.

Was Nagpur a complete yawnathon? Nah. We got a glimpse of sinew wrists of Aaron Finch, David Warner’s short-arm jabs, Kedar Jadhav’s mystery and Rohit-Rahane’s exquisite stroke-plays.

The Nagpur surface was going to be tricky. It was. Didn’t seem like Finch and Warner were going bonkers early on, but the two-paced surface caught the Australians in a spin-web. The seven-wicket win gives India the momentum ahead of T20Is, which will see the return of Ashish Nehra. Yes, Nehra-ji is back.

But before that, more about this game and presenting now the video highlights:

Top India but a clean India

Kohli has now led India to the No.1 spot in ODI rankings. This makes India the best sides in two of the three formats. Kohli loves his India too much. Ahead of Gandhi Jayanti, Team India too lent their support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ campaign. Throughout the day, this was one video the broadcasters fell in love with.

(Caution to those sensitive people: It has Ravi Shastri’s voice)

Bumrah’s successful juggle

Bumrah started with a maiden to Finch. His next over went for 9, the next 12 and then 13. He had given away 34 from his 4 overs, and Finch had plundered him for 21 from 18 balls. Hardik Pandya replaced him in the attack but Finch’s affinity towards runs continued. Looking to clear Bumrah manning mid-off, he failed. Bumrah made a mockery of a simple catch. He finally got his juggling act right.

India’s Malinga?

Statistician Mohandas Menon tweeted, “What do you call a player like Kedar Jadhav. He has * a 300 in fc cricket. * 2 ODI 100s * 16 wickets in ODIs * 7 stumpings in T20s (sic)”.

Add that slinging action to the mix. Jadhav surprisingly bowled ahead of regular spinner Akshar Patel and he lived up to his reputation of being a wicket-taker.

Australian captain Steven Smith might have given sleepless nights to the best of bowlers in the world but he had no answer to Jadhav’s mystery. Ahead of the match, in an interview, Jadhav admitted that he had “no idea” how he gets the wickets. He got Warner in Bengaluru, now Smith in Nagpur. For the first time in his career, he finished his quota of 10 overs and he gave away 48 runs and pouched Smith.

Whatever he was bowling, it worked for India.

Dhoni’s odd day

It was an indifferent day for the otherwise street-smart MS Dhoni. Akshar Patel induced Marcus Stoinis’ edge twice, and Dhoni failed to pouch it on both occasions. It somehow found the gap between the slip and the keeper.

Dhoni is India’s go-to man when it comes to DRS. He got one wrong. Then there was an edge by James Faulkner that had bounced on the turf before entering Dhoni’s gloves. Dhoni was uncertain and thought maybe he had taken it cleanly.

It was an odd day for the Indian stalwart. But then there was also this. It shows how brilliant he is against spin bowling.

As they rightly say: Bend it like Beckham and Grab it like Dhoni…

The delightful Rahane

There are few prettier sights in this game than watching Rahane in full flow. While Rohit’s stay at the crease in the initial overs was a struggle, Rahane continued the momentum with odd boundaries. He brought up his fourth consecutive fifty. He finally departed LBW for 61. The opening stand of 124 set up the game for India.

Rahane’s scores in Champions Trophy reads—62, 103, 72, 60, 39, 5, 5, 55, 70, 53 and 61. Unfortunately, despite this consistency, he will have to make way for Shikhar Dhawan once the southpaw returns.

Here’s Rahane’s stroke-filled 61:

Rohit Sharma, the ODI monster

Rohit’s knock was similar to his career and character. Had its lows and then those brilliant highs. But no denying that this cricketer is a monster when it comes to ODIs. The Mumbai batsman took 15 balls to open his account, when he did, he did it in style with a couple of booming drives.

On a two-paced surface, Rohit’s artistry with the wood, made batting look ridiculously easy. After the century stand with Rahane, he added 99 for the second wicket with Kohli.

En route to his 14th Test hundred, Rohit notched up a few milestones. Rohit not only has the most sixes against Australia, he also became the second fastest opener to 4,000 runs after Hashim Amla and became the fastest Indian to reach 2,000 runs at home. While Rohit achieved it in 42 innings, Sourav Ganguly and Kohli had achieved it in 45 and 46 innings respectively.

When he reached 92, he completed 6,000 ODI runs and became the third fastest Indian to the landmark after Kohli and Ganguly. When Rohit had reached 3,000 runs in this format, he averaged 36.58 then, and at the time of crossing 6,000, his average is an impressive 44.12.

Rohit got to his landmark with a six off Nathan Coulter-Nile. He now has most sixes in 2017. Pandya has 28 and Rohit has 29 now.

…And the No.1 moment

Despite Rohit and Kohli’s fall in the same over, an Indian win looked inevitable. Faulkner ran into bowl the 43rd over and India needed 8. Manish Pandey may not have played a decisive knock in this series but here was his opportunity to seal it memorably.

He played three dots, and then whipped one past long-on for a boundary. He followed that with another powerful stroke that found the long-on cushions. India had won 4-1, and here comes the crown of the No.1 ranking.

Can Australia do what India did in the T20I series in 2015-16 and seal it 3-0? Looks unlikely. The trumpets get ready, batters gear up flexing muscles and Nehra-ji returns. Get set for the slam bang format…