Top three power India to massive total

Making the most of the opportunity that was made available due to Rohit Sharma's absence, Ajinkya Rahane registered a well-compiled 103 off 104 - the second One-Day International century by .....

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Old 26-06-2017
Top three power India to massive total

Making the most of the opportunity that was made available due to Rohit Sharma's absence, Ajinkya Rahane registered a well-compiled 103 off 104 - the second One-Day International century by an Indian opener in West Indies - to power the visitors to a mammoth total on Sunday (June 25). Rahane's 114-run opening stand with Shikhar Dhawan (63) provided the ideal platform, and he continued the good work with a 97-run second wicket stand with Virat Kohli. The Indian skipper laid the finished touches to the innings, with a 66-ball 87, to help the tourists to a daunting total of 310 for 5 in the second ODI at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Crisp drives, authoritative cuts and pulls, impressive running between the wickets, putting their heads down and respecting anything that wasn't in the range - it was straight out of the text-book on how to build an effective partnership that Dhawan and Rahane executed to good effect, as they registered their fifth century stand in 15 ODIs to get India off to a racy start. Making good use of the field restrictions in place, and aware that there were only 43 overs available in the curtailed encounter because of a rain delay, the Indian openers hit the straps straight away, converting a strong start into their sixth successive fifty-plus stand, one shy of the world record between Geoff Marsh and Dean Jones.

While Ashley Nurse was bowling an economical spell from one end, the pacers weren't as disciplined and Dhawan made sure to cash in, scoring boundaries at ease off Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph en route to a 49-ball 50. Meanwhile, Rahane, who had settled into a second-fiddle role, had a lucky break as he was dropped by Holder at short mid-wicket off Nurse in the 13th over. Capitalising on the miss, he continued to lend solid support to Dhawan as they brought up their second successive hundred-run partnership, creating a strong base for India to take advantage of.

The steady start went according to the familiar script associated with India's ODI cricket of late but it also mandated a wicket against the run of play. And along came one when Dhawan reached out to meet a Nurse delivery, only to be out stumped. And the narrative continued with Kohli trying to get his eye in while Rahane helped himself to a 56-ball half-century with a four off Miguel Cummins in the 20th over. The set batsman, Rahane, took over the responsibility of scoring the boundaries, doing so at a regular frequency, to bring up the 150 in the 25th over.

Kohli was content taking the singles and wasn't in a hurry to shift gears, while Rahane did the bulk of the scoring in the second-wicket stand. Nothing was going Windies' way and they even lost the lone review, their excitement cut short when Cummins had struck Rahane on the pads, as replays upheld the umpire's call. As Rahane entered the 80s, Kohli decided it was time for him to start finding the ropes. Lofting a Bishoo delivery over cover in the 29th over, the India skipper scored his first four off the 27th ball he faced, before sending the next one to the third-man fence. Even though the next three overs did not yield any boundary, the scoring rate was still over six as India reached 200 at the end of the 32nd.

A third ODI century was there for the taking and Rahane made sure not to miss that, getting to the three-figure mark in style with a majestic cover drive off Cummins. The bowler, though, could afford a smile as Rahane's bid to play across the line saw a bail being dislodged. Kohli then did what he does best, launching Joseph over cover for a six. But another wicket went down soon after as Hardik Pandya, promoted up the order, sliced a catch to third man barely deliveries after being reprieved by a no-ball.

Kohli ensured that India didn't run out of steam, using his wrists to good effect to cart the bowlers around the park. Soon after bringing up a 49-ball 50, the captain scored a four and a six off successive deliveries off Cummins to help India go past 250-run mark in the 38th over. Yuvraj Singh, however, endured another failure, nicking Holder to 'keeper Shai Hope to depart for 14 in his 300th ODI appearance for India. But Kohli was undeterred, taking on the bowlers as he executed his shots to near perfection. Cummmins, Holder and Joseph, all tried their best to minimise the assault, but they had no answers to Kohli's dexterity, until he miscued one off Joseph in the penultimate over. Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni profited from Holder's waywardness in the final over, contributing their bit in the death-overs rush that yielded India 107 runs in the last 10 overs.

Brief scores: India 310/5 in 43 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 103, Virat Kohli 87, Shikhar Dhawan 63; Alzarri Joseph 2-73) vs Windies.

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