Jaipur: In a match that saw a series of records being broken, India stunned Australia to register their best ever run-chase in one-day internationals and second best in overall history of the game on Wednesday.
The pitch at the Sawai Mansingh stadium is famous for producing huge scores but what was witnessed on Wednesday night was something spectacular. 721 runs were scored in 93.3 overs, with just six wickets going down.
While Australia posted a score of 359 for the third time in ODIs, with all five of their top-order batsmen scoring half-centuries (which itself is a record), India registered their most successful run-chase in the fifty-over format.
By scoring a hundred off just 52 deliveries, Virat Kohli broke Virender Sehwag's record of fastest century by an Indian in ODIs. Sehwag achieved the feat against New Zealand in 2009. Rohit Sharma, too, finally set the stage on fire, scoring his third ODI century (141* off 123) and playing a pivotal role in India's run chase.
Other than Rohit and Kohli's stunning unbeaten hundreds, Shikhar Dhawan too showed his prowess with a well-made 95 off 86 deliveries. The victory also helped India level the seven-match series 1-1.
Chasing a big total, Rohit and Dhawan laid a perfect platform, adding 176 for the opening wicket. Although Dhawan departed five short of his three-figure mark, Rohit continued to pile on the runs, with Kohli playing a rollicking innings as the duo helped India cross the finish line.
Half-centuries from top five batsmen propelled Australia to 359 for 5, but India came out firing from the outset, chasing a mammoth target with 39 balls to spare to win by nine wickets.
Indian batting's 'Gen-Next' troika showed why they are not afraid of any target and reasserted India's supremacy in the 50-over format.
While bowling continues to be a worrying factor for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, he should at least feel happy that Kohli, along with Rohit and Dhawan, is ready to take the legacy of Indian batting forward in the next decade.
The victory was built on two partnerships. An opening stand of 174 between Dhawan and Rohit followed by another 186 runs scored in only 17.2 overs between Rohit and Kohli. The duo put on 100 runs in only 62 balls.
The chase practically started in the ninth over when Dhawan, in his bid to break the shackles, hit Shane Watson for three successive boundaries.
In the next over from Clint McKay, Rohit got a couple of boundaries more as 26 runs came off those two overs. While Dhawan repeatedly charged out to the pacers piercing the off-side cordon, Rohit used field restrictions to good effect by lofting the deliveries over in-field.
Rohit hit Glenn Maxwell for a six over deep mid-wicket to bring up the team's 100 and then got his half century with a tickle down leg-side off Xavier Doherty. If Dhawan muscled the deliveries, Rohit found a way to caress them to the boundary.
However, after reaching his 50, Dhawan upped the ante with some sizzling strokeplay before James Faulkner got him to edge one trying to hit one shot too many. His 86-ball stay had 14 sweetly timed boundaries as he missed out on what would have been a well-deserved hundred.
Kohli did not take time to settle down as he raced to a half-century in only 27 balls with four huge sixes. Whether hitting Faulkner over long-off or smashing Watson over deep mid-wicket, each shot came out of the top drawer as India steadily inched towards victory with minimum fuss.
The Australians now have the ignominy of ending second best in two highest run-chases having faced similar fate against Herschelle Gibbs' South Africa seven years back, when they failed to defend a mammoth score of 434.
Earlier, Australian batsmen yet again took the Indian bowling attack to the cleaners as they scored a massive 359 for 5, equalling their highest ever total against India.
Led from the front by their skipper George Bailey (92*), the Australian batsmen made merry of a listless Indian attack on a good track.
This incidentally is Australia's highest total on Indian soil surpassing their previous best of 350 for 4 in Hyderabad in 2009. This total also equalled their highest ever total of 359 for 2 against India made during 2003 World Cup final in South Africa as well as 359 for 4 in a VB Series match in Sydney back in 2004.
Phil Hughes (83), Aaron Finch (50), Shane Watson (59) set up the platform for skipper Bailey and Glenn Maxwell (53) to finish the innings with a flourish.
Indian bowlers conceded 122 runs in the last 10 overs of the innings as Bailey and Maxwell sent the Indian attack on a leather-hunt putting on a staggering 96 runs in only 8.3 overs for the fourth wicket.
Bailey bludgeoned the Indian bowling as he faced only 50 balls in his unbeaten innings, hitting eight fours and five sixes.
Both Ishant Sharma (0 for 70 in 9 overs) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0 for 54 in 10 overs) lacked penetration as both Finch and Hughes negotiated the duo with ease.
The third seamer R Vinay Kumar was guilty of bowling either too short or only slower deliveries and it only added to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's woes. Vinay (2 for 73 in 9 overs) had the worst figures among the pacers.
The worst among the Indian bowlers was though left-arm spinners Ravindra Jadeja (0 for 72 from 10 overs) and Yuvraj Singh (0 for 35 from four overs) and the duo gave away 107 runs in 11 overs between them. Ravichandran Ashwin (1 for 50 from eight overs) fared marginally better.
While Finch, as usual, was at his attacking best, Hughes complemented him by playing the second fiddle to perfection.
Any width outside the off-stump was dealt with severity by Finch, who also pulled a slow bouncer from Vinay Kumar for a six to complete his second successive half-century of the series.
(With PTI inputs)