2nd ODI: India post 324 after series of handy innings
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put on 154 for the opening wicket. © AFP

India have posted 324/4 in the second ODI at Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval on Saturday, where at one stage it appeared as if they might touch 350.

A 14th century-plus stand between Rohit Sharma (87 off 96 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (66 from 67) set the stage for a massive total, never really came as Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson dismissed Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu in the forties to peg India back. (LIVE UPDATES: INDIA vs NEW ZEALAND)

Short balls accounted for Rohit, Kohli and Rayudu at crucial junctures of the first innings, with Ferguson unlucky not get MS Dhoni as his third wicket. Dhoni added a vital unbeaten 48 from 33 balls while starring in a stand worth 53 in 26 balls with Kedar Jadhav, getting India to a good total. Back at the venue at which they made 371 and 319 against Sri Lanka earlier this month, New Zealand have left themselves needing to get 325.

The game started with Rohit edging the first ball from Boult past a diving Tom Latham behind the stumps, but thereon the batting Powerplay was littered with authoritative shots. Full balls and leg-stump offerings were duly punched and flicked imperiously, and there was just one boundary-less over inside the first ten. Even when Rohit was surprised by Ferguson’s pace the result was four, such are the short boundaries at Bay Oval. When Ferguson returned for a second spell and banged it in again, Rohit pulled him for six to raise the 100-run stand and his fifty, off 62 balls. (READ MORE: Nine-year-old Indian girl joins Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson at toss)

Another six followed, and out of the attack went Ferguson.

Ish Sodhi – playing in place of Mitchell Santner – briefly slowed the flow of runs but from the other end Colin de Grandhomme – who replaced Tim Southee – hit for four fours in two overs by Dhawan who reached his fifty 53 balls. Trent Boult’s first over on return saw Rohit pull and loft for fours. Colin Munro was experimented with, but his pace was so inviting that Dhawan immediately swept him from outside off for four. India’s 150 was raised when Rohit cut Munro to the boundary.

The stand ended on 154 in the 26th over when Dhawan flayed at Boult end edged to Latham. That wicket-maiden stemmed the attacking approach from Rohit, who scored five runs from his next 11 balls before he pulled a clever slower delivery from Ferguson to deep square leg where de Grandhomme fell forward to hold a nice catch.

Virat Kohli made 43 off 45 balls at Bay Oval.
Virat Kohli made 43 off 45 balls at Bay Oval. © AFP

Kohli, on 12 at the time, didn’t allow a good spell from Ferguson to tie him down. He scored ten off his next 11 balls and then stepped out to drive Doug Bracewell over extra cover and pull him past a diving fine leg for boundaries that put him on 30 from 30. Smart singles were key to the tempo being maintained. Rayudu hit two fours off Ferguson to begin briskly and though not as fast as Kohli, he did well to rotate the strike with his offside timing particularly strong.

The 50-run stand came off 49 balls, but then came a pivotal moment. The first ball of Boult’s third spell accounted for Kohli, who on 43 was hurried into a pull shot that sent the ball to Sodhi at fine leg. At 236/2 with Kohli and Rayudu at the crease and 11 overs to go, India looked on course to get 350, but that wicket pulled them back.

Rayudu hit a few big shots to move to 47 before he became the third batsman to fall to the bouncer, as Ferguson pushed him back and collected a massive top-edge himself. Ferguson was unfortunate not to add Dhoni, who on 29 slashed out to a running de Grandhomme at third man who failed to hold onto the catch and allowed four.

Dhoni put 300 up with a pulled six off Boult and then Jadhav took 14 off the first three balls from Ferguson in the last over, and Dhoni finished on 48. India scored 21 off the last over, Jadhav ending with 22 from ten balls.

Brief scores: India 324/4 in 50 overs (Rohit 87, Dhawan 66, Dhoni 48*) vs New Zealand