Rohit Sharma, India’s acting skipper for the last two games of the ODI series against New Zealand, will look to finish the series off in style when the two teams meet on Sunday. Currently seated joint third with former skipper Sourav Ganguly on the list of most centuries for India in ODIs, Rohit needs one more century to overtake Ganguly and cement his place in the third spot. Sachin Tendulkar sits at the top of the list with 49 centuries while regular skipper Virat Kohli has 39 centuries to his name.
For a team expected to be one of the favourites to win the 2019 World Cup, India were bowled out for a paltry 92 in conditions that suited the New Zealand bowlers in the fourth ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Thursday. Trent Boult was the wrecker-in-chief as the Indian batsmen just couldn’t handle his pace and swing.
With Kohli rested for the last two ODIs against New Zealand, deputy Rohit took over on Thursday and the acting skipper’s 200th ODI turned out to be a nightmare as Kiwi pacer Trent Boult ran riot to finish with figures of 5/21 from his 10 overs, including 4 maiden overs. None of the top-order batsmen could make it count as the Indians registered the unwanted record of lowest contribution by the top six Indian batsmen in an away ODI.
The Indian top six could manage only 35 runs to create the unwanted record as the earlier record stood at 39 when the top six Indian batsmen were put on the backfoot by the English bowlers at the Oval in 1982. On Thursday, it was the perfect toss to win for Kane Williamson in conditions which suited swing bowling and Boult reposed the faith shown by his captain as he derailed the Indians innings.
While Rohit’s poor show in milestone matches continued, dismissed for just 7, Shikhar Dhawan too failed to convert what looked like a good start. Starting with a six and a boundary, Dhawan was trapped plumb in front by Boult for a 20-ball 13. Debutant Shubman Gill too showed signs of flair as he hit a beautiful cover drive, but it wasn’t to be a dream debut as Bolt got one to stop just a tad bit on the batsman and then happily grabbed the return catch.
Ambati Rayudu’s poor run continued as he failed to bother the scorers. His 4-ball duck was followed by senior batsman Dinesh Karthik’s three-ball duck. With regular keeper and former captain MS Dhoni rested for the game, the onus was on Karthik to make it count, but he failed to grab that opportunity.
Kedar Jadhav too failed to take the chance of spending quality time in the middle as Boult trapped him right in front for just 1. While the diminutive batsman did take the DRS, but that was more a formality than anything else as he was the last recognized batsman.
While Boult was the wrecker-in-chief, Colin de Grandhomme was also the perfect partner in crime as he dismissed two of the top six — Rayudu and Karthik.