Throwback from Down Under: Rohit Sharma’s 171* vs Australia

With the Australian tour going underway from the 27th November, let’s have a look at this unforgettable performance from one of the best white-ball batsmen in the world, against Australia. Rohit Sharma has always loved batting on the Australian soil. He has consistently scored big in Australia and has numerous remarkable records in Australia. This particular inning came in the 1st ODI vs Australia when India toured Australia in 2016.

India won the toss and opted to bat first. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opened the innings batting first. And Rohit has always been known for enjoying the pace and bounce which the Australian wickets offer. Australia was playing with two left-arm fast bowlers in Joel Paris and James Faulkner. Joel Paris being a tall guy always had that extra bounce which apparently helped Rohit.

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Josh Hazlewood tried to bowl fuller lengths and tried to restrict the total but Rohit was timing the ball really well. He didn’t take much time to get settled. He got going from the first ball itself.

Unfortunately, he lost his partner, Shikhar Dhawan, early in the inning. Virat Kohli joined him and they both collectively built the innings efficiently. Rohit was timing the ball so well that it was quite evident that he was on his way of scoring big. Interestingly, Rohit has always known how to convert those decent totals to huge ones having scored 2 double centuries (He scored 2 double centuries before 2016). He has always tried to counterattack the bowler.

The wicket was flat but it had something for the batsman and the bowler as well. Joel Paris and Scott Boland were playing their first international game. Being inexperienced, they bowled too many short deliveries. Although, there was nothing wrong in doing that as WACA stadium is a huge ground. The boundaries were long and the batsman had to time it well to play the pull shot. Rohit, having pull shot as his strength looked quite comfortable. He completed his fifty off 63 balls very fluently. He never looked in trouble. Moreover, Rohit paced his innings well and never let the required run-rate go out of hand.

He completed his hundred off 122 balls.

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Someone said it correctly: “Rohit Sharma after completing 100 is a completely different batsman altogether.”

At the end of 38 overs, India was at 196-1.
India ended up scoring 309-3. This means, India scored 113 runs in the last 12 overs and the thing to be noticed is that Rohit scored 67 of them. Remember, Rohit was not batting with a tailender or someone with a lesser batting prowess. India was just one down and Virat was set after scoring a fifty. It’s the ability of Rohit to hit boundaries which makes him best in the business. The way he was smashing the lower full-tosses outside the park was brilliant. Soon, he got to yet another 150. MS Dhoni, who has witnessed many legendary moments from the non-striker’s end throughout his career, was on the other end yet another time.

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Rohit Sharma carried the bat after scoring 171(163) inclusive of 13 fours and 7 sixes.

Unfortunately, Australia chased down the total with the help of centuries from Steve Smith 149(135) and George Bailey 112(120). India lost the series 4-1 but Rohit Sharma was named player of the series having scored 441 runs at a blistering average of 110.25 and a strike rate of over 100.

Rohit, in this match, broke numerous records. Here are some of them:

  • He became the first Indian to hit a ton at the WACA.
  • He made the record for most sixes by any batsman against Australia in ODIs – 37. He still holds the record.
  • His 171* against Australia is the highest unbeaten score by a batsman on their home soil. It’s also the highest individual score by an Indian in Australia in ODI. Unfortunately, it’s also the highest individual score in a losing cause in Australia.
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  • Converting most consecutive ODI centuries into scores of 135+, Rohit Sharma tops the list with 7 centuries and Sachin Tendulkar next to him with 4 centuries.
  • Rohit Sharma’s average against Australia is the highest by any batsman against them in ODIs – 68.46. AB de Villiers is next to him with an average of 62.57.
  • Rohit’s partnership with Virat (207) is the highest partnership for the second wicket versus Australia in Australia in ODIs. The record was broken in the same series by Virat-Dhawan.

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