Sydney went to the Aussies, Adelaide goes to the Indians. We are all square at 1-1 and there is all to play for in the final game at the MCG. That one will begin at 1320 local (0220 GMT) on the 18th January, Friday. Take care and see you for that one. Cheers!
India's skipper is also the Man of the Match. He is very pleased with the overall effort and says that to get the wickets of Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell in quick succession at the death was crucial which meant they were not chasing 330. Praises Bhuvneshwar Kumar and adds that he brought back the whole team into the game. States that Vijay Shankar is in the squad and that gives them the option but he is not too keen on changing the winning combination. Feels that his bowlers did pretty well. On his innings, Virat says he tries to get into the zone whenever there is a target on the board. Adds that the whole idea was to keep things simple and also take calculative risks. Hopes to keep helping the team. Further says that it was a really tough day with the conditions being too hot and they need a good day rest. On MS Dhoni, Kohli says that there is no doubt that he should be a part of this team. Praises him and says that he calculates the game so well and today was an MS classic. Mentions about the contribution of Karthik as well who showed the right kind of intent.
Australia's captain, Aaron Finch says that they hung in really well and praises India for their batting. Feels they needed to keep taking wickets but ran into that man Dhoni. Praises MSD for timing his innings and credits India for playing well and calls it a good game of cricket. Mentions that they need to get their batting in the first Powerplay right and admits he is responsible for that and needs to start scoring. Further adds that he is trying to get the best out of the players and as a captain he needs to be consistent with his action. Lauds Shaun Marsh for his century under brutal conditions. On managing his bowlers, Finch replies that it would have been nice to have Jhye Richardson bowl at the death. States that it's tough against experienced batsmen and reckons there are lots of positive for them. Looking forward to MCG and hopes to win the series there.
Coming to Australia's batting inning earlier, it was mainly revolved around Shaun Marsh's 131 which powered the total to 298. It was eventually about 10-20 short as it proved to be. A point to be considered could also be the last 3 overs of the Australian batting innings which yielded only 17 runs. Made all the difference in the end. Stay tuned for the presentation ceremony!
Virat though continued playing as he normally does in chases and was involved in two more fifty-plus stands, first with Ambati Rayudu and then with MS Dhoni. He reached his 39th ODI century but fell short after getting there. When he fell, a further 57 were required but Dinesh Karthik joined hands with the former India skipper and took the Indians over the line, going all the way to the last over. A very important factor in the chase was the running between the wickets as the Indians ran the field ragged. MSD was a little cramped up in the end but finished stuff with a trademark six that shows the fighting spirit of the man. For the Aussies, no bowler made a great show but none was very poor either. Just a good game of cricket in the end and India just about played better than Australia to level the series 1-1.
So that should settle the debate on whether Dhoni still has it in him or not. He has proved exactly why he is so important to the team going into the World Cup. Got his second consecutive fifty and took India to victory. The chase though, was more than just about Dhoni. It started off really solidly with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan adding 47 for the first wicket before the latter perished to an unnecessary shot. The former though was joined in the middle by the skipper Virat Kohli and what followed was a lovely display of batting where runs were being milked easily till Rohit holed out at deep mid-wicket.
J Behrendorff to MS Dhoni, INDIA WIN BY 6 WICKETS! Quietly does the job with a run. Nothing fancy. Full and around off, Dhoni plays it with soft hands towards wide mid on for a quick single as the fielder misses his shy at the bowler's end. No pressure. Nothing. Job done. Dhoni shows no emotions. All is well. India have levelled the series 1-1!
J Behrendorff to MS Dhoni, SIX! Vintage Dhoni! A touch short in length around off, Dhoni unleashes all his power behind it and muscles it handsomely over long on for a maximum. The crowd has gone bonkers. 69th ODI fifty for MS Dhoni. It also reminds us of an ODI in 2012 in Adelaide when MS Dhoni hit a biggie off McKay on the third ball of the last over and won India the game from there. Scores are levelled here!
END OF OVER: 49 | 9 Runs 0 Wkt | IND: 292/4
Jason Behrendorff to bowl the final over. MS Dhoni on strike...
M Stoinis to MS Dhoni, In the air... but lands safely in front of the long on fielder. A length ball, Dhoni goes for the big one, doesn't connect too well and is lucky as it lands before the fielder. Single taken. 9 off this over. Stoinis finishes with 1/46 off his 9 overs. India just need 7 off the last one.
M Stoinis to D Karthik, Brilliant running from Dhoni there! It is not easy out there in the middle and MS has run back for the third one, seeing the opportunity. A length ball on middle, Karthik moves across and laps it fine towards deep fine leg. Behrendorff comes around from square leg and dives, saving a run for his team.
M Stoinis to MS Dhoni, Another length delivery on top of middle stump, Dhoni rocks back and drops it on the off side before setting off. Completes the single easily.
M Stoinis to D Karthik, A good length ball on middle, driven down the ground to long on for a single.
M Stoinis to D Karthik, A fuller length ball outside off, Karthik drives this wide of deep cover and comes back for another easy two.
M Stoinis to MS Dhoni, A short ball outside off, Dhoni punches it back towards mid off and takes a single.
END OF OVER: 48 | 9 Runs 0 Wkt | IND: 283/4
Quite humid out there in the middle and Dhoni is feeling the heat. He is down on the ground and has some drinks to help him. It's not easy, especially for wicket-keepers.
J Behrendorff to D Karthik, Fuller length ball on middle and leg, Karthik walks down and across before flicking it towards deep mid-wicket. The batsmen run the first one hard and Maxwell out there, misfields and allows for the second one to be completed easily. 9 runs off this over. India now need 16 off the last two.
J Behrendorff to MS Dhoni, Amazing running that! A slower length delivery on the pads, Dhoni works it very fine. Fine leg is in the circle and he gives chase. The batsmen pick up three in the end.
J Behrendorff to D Karthik, Another slower one outside off to DK, looks like a plan. Karthik drives this to deep cover for a single.
J Behrendorff to MS Dhoni, Another single to deep mid-wicket as Dhoni punches this one off the back foot. The Australians won't mind this.
J Behrendorff to D Karthik, Slower full toss outside off, Karthik pulls it but does not get good timing on it. Missed out there one would feel. A single down to wide long on.
J Behrendorff to MS Dhoni, On a good length and at the hips, flicked away to deep mid-wicket for a single.