Rohit Sharma had not contributed much in the first two ODIs, falling for a solid 37 in the first ODI at Hyderabad but falling for a duck for the first time at home during the Nagpur ODI. In the game at the JSCA stadium in Ranchi, India were facing a stiff target of 314 thanks to Usman Khawaja’s maiden century and Aaron Finch’s 93. Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu fell cheaply in the chase and it was left to Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma to steady the innings. Rohit signaled his intentions when he lofted Pat Cummins for a straight six straight down the ground but he fell for 14 as he was trapped LBW by Cummins.
When Rohit launched a six off Cummins down the ground, the Mumbai right-hander reached a special landmark. This was Rohit’s 350th six in international cricket and he joined an elite list. He became the second Indian after MS Dhoni to hit 350 sixes in international cricket, having smashed 216 sixes in ODIs alone. Dhoni has 354 sixes but the list is topped by Chris Gayle, who has blasted 517 sixes spread across all formats.
Rohit and Gayle are the only players to have hit more sixes as compared to the number of matches played. In 450 games, Gayle has hit 517 sixes while Rohit has hit 350 sixes in 325 games. The right-hander has smashed 67 sixes against Australia, which is the most any player has hit against the five-time world champions. When it comes to most sixes against a single side, Gayle leads the list with 84 sixes against England.
Khawaja’s maiden century and his 193-run opening stand with Aaron Finch laid the base for Australia’s big score. Glenn Maxwell’s aggressive 47 and Marcus Stoinis’ 31 helped Australia reach 313/5. In response, India lost Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu cheaply to be reduced to 27/3. Kohli and Dhoni shared a 59-run stand but after breaking the record, Dhoni was bowled by Adam Zampa for 26. Kohli shared an 88-run stand for the fifth wicket with Kedar Jadhav (26) and Kohli notched up a record century in a chase.
Vijay Shankar batted aggressively but India lost wickets at regular intervals to lose the match by 32 runs and keep the series alive heading into the fourth game in Mohali.