India and Australia have shared an intense rivalry in the last decade or so, particularly in the One Day Internationals (ODIs). In the 90s, the scenario was a little different as the Kangaroos were dominating world cricket, while the men in blue were very inconsistent.
However, since the time MS Dhoni took charge as the Indian white-ball captain, the scenario started to change with India getting more and more consistent and being able to beat Australia on a regular basis. At this point in time, the India-Australia rivalry is pretty even with both teams capable of beating each other on any ground and in any conditions around the world.
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There have been some really quality innings played by Indian batsmen in the ODIs against Australia over the years, but a few of them have been memorable. Here are the 4 best ODI innings by an Indian batsman against Australia.
#1 Virat Kohli (100, India vs Australia ODI series, 2013)
Batting first in that game at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur, Australia posted 360 runs on the board. It was a mammoth score and India desperately needed a good start in the chase which was provided by the opening partnership of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.
When Dhawan got out in the 27th over after scoring 95, India needed 184 runs off 144 balls. With two amazing ball-strikers waiting in the shed in the form of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, some people were of the view that they should have walked in at no. 3, rather than Kohli.
But, Kohli came out and played completely against his nature. Normally, he likes to take a bit of time at the start of his innings, but he was in a mood that day. He just smashed everything around the park right from the first ball he faced.
Kohli scored the fastest ODI hundred for India in that game, as he scored an unbeaten 100 off just 52 balls with 8 fours and 7 hits over the fence.
#2 Rohit Sharma (209, India vs Australia ODI series, 2013)
After Kohli created the record of the fastest ODI hundred for India, Rohit Sharma added a bit more history to that series against Australia in 2013, as he became the third Indian batsman to score a double hundred in an ODI, after Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
The fact that it was a decider and Sharma’s knock helped India seal the series, it made that knock that much more glorious. He had been in good form right through the series, but he really came through age during that particular knock at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
He first played as a sheet anchor and rotated the strike at one end, as India lost wickets at regular intervals at the other end. However, once he completed his hundred and laid a platform for himself, he went berserk and dispatched the Australian bowling to all corners.
The right-hander equalled the world record of hitting the most number of sixes in an ODI innings as well, as he hit a total of 16 sixes in that game. He was dismissed by Clint McKay after scoring 209 runs off 158 balls. India successfully defended the score of 383 they put on the board, as they beat Australia by 26 runs.
#3 Sachin Tendulkar (117 not out, CB series final, 2008)
Although Sachin Tendulkar was the most successful ODI opener around the world at that stage, he had never scored an ODI hundred in Australia.
The master blaster, however, chose the perfect occasion to cross the hurdle as he played a world-class knock against the hosts in the first final of the CB series 2008 which was played at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
India were able to restrict Australia to a below-par score of 239, bowling first. However, they had a few hiccups in the pursuit of the target as they lost their first three wickets for just 87 runs. The onus was on Tendulkar to bat through the innings and he did exactly that, as he milked the Australian bowling perfectly and built a match-winning partnership with the youngster Rohit Sharma to take India over the line.
Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 117 off 120 balls with 10 boundaries. He then went on to score 91 in the second final as well, as India clinched the CB series for the first time in their history.
#4 Yuvraj Singh (57 not out, World Cup quarter-final, 2011)
It was only a half-century, but given the amount of pressure it came under, it was immensely satisfactory, not only for Yuvraj Singh but for all the Indian fans.
India went into that World Cup as the overwhelming favorites with the dream of winning the showpiece event after a gap of 28 years and the dream was on the verge of getting broken as MS Dhoni returned to the pavilion with India still needing 74 runs to win the quarter-final against Australia.
Australia had the likes of Brett Lee, Shaun Tait, and Mitchell Johnson bowling some serious pace. The match seemed to be going away from India, but Yuvraj Singh rose to the occasion and soaked in all the pressure to see India through.
His cut shots over backward point and drilling drives through covers against the Australian fast bowling trio were a delight to watch. Suresh Raina stood with him as well, at the other end as the duo put on 74 off just 61 balls to ensure India’s qualification to the semi-final. Yuvraj scored 57 off 65 balls with 8 fours.