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Cricketnext Staff | Updated: January 21, 2019, 4:47 PM IST

The high of India’s first-ever Test series win in Australia lasted for days after Day 5 of the final Test at Sydney had been washed out.

However, India did not make an ideal start to the three-match series, losing the first game on Saturday at the Sydney Cricket Ground by 34 runs.

Chasing 288 to win, India could only muster 254 in response despite Rohit Sharma scoring a fighting 133 to bring India so close to a win in the series opener.

The knock came in less than ideal conditions for the India vice-captain. The Indian top order had folded and there was plenty of pressure on both Rohit and MS Dhoni.

India were reeling at 1/1 after Shikhar Dhawan departed for a golden duck off the bowling of debutant Jason Behrendorff.

Marcus Stoinis then took a smart catch off Jhye Richardson’s bowling to remove the dangerous Virat Kohli.

Just two balls later, Richardson removed Ambati Rayudu and India were now tottering at 4/3. Such was the situation that Dhoni and Rohit found themselves in.

The two managed to stitch together a 137-run partnership, with Dhoni scoring what could arguably be one of his more patient fifties in recent memory.

Yet it was important in the context of the game and Dhoni’s dismissal off Behrendorff was a moment that swung the game right back in favour of the home side.

Perhaps more frustratingly for the Indian camp, Dhoni could have reversed the decision if the review was available – but Rayudu had used up the review unsuccessfully when he was adjugded out.

But while Dhoni’s half-century led to some questioning whether he should be playing further up the order, Rohit’s knock showed once again why he is regarded one of the best limited-overs batsmen in the world today.

His knock of 133 included 10 fours and 6 sixes and his 22nd ODI century saw him surpass Adam Gilchrist to become the third highest run-scorer in ODIs between India and Australia.

He soldiered on even after Dhoni had been removed and at could have made a better fist of things had he managed to bat through the innings.

But he was eventually caught by Glenn Maxwell in the deep as the asking rate – and the amount of pressure on him – kept mounting.

The second ODI between India and Australia takes place at Adelaide on January 15.

First Published: January 13, 2019, 7:17 AM IST
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