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The India-Australia One-Day series which defined the rivalry

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An India-Australia One Day series has treated cricket fans to many exquisite performances. But amongst the many bilateral series played between the cricket giants, nothing comes close to the 2013 series.

Prior to the start of the 2013 India-Australia One Day series, the Aussies held the lead in the head-to-head record with 64 wins in 113 meetings on Indian soil. The Indian cricket team, on their part, had won only 37 matches.

The two powerhouses of cricket not only provide entertainment through thrilling encounters, but the verbal exchanges during the games add a new layer of excitement and competitiveness. 

While the current rivalry between India and Australia has been labelled ‘too friendly’ by cricket legends Michael Vaughan and Zaheer Khan, the 2013 India-Australia One Day series was, by far, a zesty affair. 

Originally planned out as a seven-game One Day affair, the India-Australia ODI series eventually saw just five games to be played in completion and it was MS Dhoni’s India who registered a nerve-wracking 3-2 win over the Kangaroos. In fact, four of the five matches played saw both the teams post 300+ totals on the scoreboard.

George anchors Aussies’ 300 charge

Australia, who won the coin-toss, opted to bat first in the first ODI in Pune. This decision sat well with the Indian camp, as five of their last seven victories came while batting second. However, all smiles turned upside down when Australia, led by George Bailey’s 82-ball 85, plotted 304 on the board.

India needed a steady innings and although Virat Kohli scored a patient half-century, (61 runs in 85 deliveries), India were bowled out for 232.

Image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis

When asked about the score he projected for Australia, George Bailey said, “We were looking at 300 from the start so it was important we started well.”

“There were a couple of times India got on top, but to our bowlers’ credit, they found a way to fight back,” he added.

Rohit shuts down critics with a century

In what was perhaps the tightest fixture of the 2013 India-Australia One Day series, the MS Dhoni-led side levelled the seven-game series 1-1 in Jaipur. Rohit Sharma (141 not out), Virat Kohli (100 not out) and Shikhar Dhawan (95) engineered the Men in Blue’s push to chase down Australia’s mammoth 360. 

Apart from winning the contest by nine wickets and 39 balls to spare, Team India scripted history as they successfully chased a 300-plus score for the first time in their rivalry against Australia.

Rohit Sharma, under fire from fans and the media for his complacency in registering three-digit scores, silenced his critics with his first century since 2010 to lift India back in the series. “It took a long time coming, but I would like to say that the hard work never stopped,” Rohit said.

Faulkner skyrockets with the bat

The third ODI in Mohali was another 300-plus affair for India and Australia, but what stood out the most from the visitors’ four-wicket victory was the never-say-die attitude with which James Faulkner championed the cause for the Kangaroos. 

MS Dhoni, who then racked up the highest score by an Indian captain against Australia (139*), smashed 20 runs off James Faulkner’s final over to help the Indian cricket team post a target of 304 for George Bailey and Co. 

But then, after a few hiccups in their run-chase, Australia turned to James Faulkner to revitalize their chase. Coming in to bat in the 42nd over, Faulkner smashed 64 off 29 deliveries. His blitz included 30 runs off an Ishant Sharma over - courtesy four sixes - to set an Australian record. It gave the series lead back to the Aussies.

Intermission

During the fourth and the fifth games of the series, unseasonal rain played spoilsport with the fixtures being abandoned. 

The fourth game, prior to it being called off in the second innings, saw Australia plot 295 for eight on the board with skipper George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell registering scores of 98 and 92 respectively. Mohammed Shami’s three-wicket haul was the best bowling performance for the Men in Blue. India batted till the fourth over, but the game was eventually called off due to rain. The fifth match was a complete washout.

Dhawan, Kohli, Rohit help India ace the chase, again

With pressure mounting over their heads, India entered the penultimate fixture of the India-Australia One Day series in Nagpur with sights solely fixed on a win. Just as their heroics in the second game, Virat Kohli (115*), Shikhar Dhawan (100) and Rohit Sharma (79) helped India chase down 350 with three balls to spare. 

Earlier in the fixture, Australia captain George Bailey (156 runs off 114 balls) registered two 100-plus partnerships to help his side score 350 for six; but his efforts fell flat in the eyes of India’s formidable trio, who showcased that a 350-plus target is easily chaseable.

Rohit Sharma’s first ODI double century

With the series tied at a tense 2-2, the seventh and final game of the series in Bengaluru saw India register their most convincing victory of the campaign, in terms of margin of runs. Australia’s decision to field first saw the visitors dig a grave for themselves as a certain Rohit Sharma plundered his maiden double-century in One Day cricket. 

To sweeten the occasion, Rohit Sharma also broke Shane Watson’s record of the maximum number of sixes in an innings (16) and held it for six strong years before Eoin Morgan went one up with 17 sixes in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup match against Afghanistan.

The 2013 India-Australia ODI series did have its share of frantic moments but given their courage and sheer will to win, the Indian Cricket Team scripted one of their biggest bilateral series victories over Australia.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis

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