Australia take 9 for 46, clinch 25-run win

India had stormed along to 277 for one in the chase. Shikhar Dhawan, who last recorded an ODI century in March last year, had made 126 while Kohli, in typically belligerent fashion, completed his 25th one-day hundred. Then, all that good work was undone by an hour of insanity.

Virat Kohli scored a century to lead India's chase, but it wasn't enough.   -  AP

India will be wondering how this game got away from them. Having been in control for a long time, chasing 349 at the Manuka Oval, the visiting side imploded in spectacular fashion to sink to a 25-run defeat to Australia here on Wednesday.

India – batting second for the first time this series – had stormed to 277 for one. Shikhar Dhawan, who last recorded an ODI century in March last year, had made 126, while Virat Kohli, in typically belligerent fashion, completed his 25th one-day hundred. The pair had added 212 runs in 29.3 overs for the second wicket.

Then, all that good work was undone by an hour of insanity. Dhawan fell in John Hastings's 38th over and was followed two balls later by M. S. Dhoni, caught behind. Kohli perished seven balls afterwards – at the hands of Kane Richardson – and with him a big portion of India's hopes. It was critical in the context of the game that Ajinkya Rahane was injured and could only bat (gingerly) at seven.

Rahane had cut his right hand (while fielding in the slips in the first innings) that required four stitches and a local anaesthetic. He spent three difficult balls at the crease before he edged a Richardson delivery to the slips.

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Rishi Dhawan and Gurkeerat Singh Mann fell playing wild shots while Ravindra Jadeja displayed a shocking lack of awareness batting with the tail. In the 47th over, with India needing 38 runs with two wickets remaining, Jadeja took a single off the first ball and put number 10 batsman Umesh Yadav on strike.

When the dust settled, India had lost nine wickets for 46 in 12 overs, with Richardson finishing with five for 68. Australia took a 4-0 lead in the VB Series. The fifth ODI will be played in Sydney on Saturday.

The tragedy of it all was that India had begun resoundingly well, Rohit Sharma scoring a 25-ball-41 and giving his side the sort of high-octane start it had missed. His exit united Dhawan and Kohli, and for as long as the two were at the crease, it seemed India would sail home without any concern. Dhawan batted with greater intent than he had shown at the MCG.

Early in his innings, he stepped down the pitch to John Hastings, carving him over point with both feet off the ground. Dhawan struck 14 fours and two sixes in all, breaking into a relieved smile when he reached three figures.

Kohli, meanwhile, began as if he wanted to get home in a hurry, treating James Faulkner with gleeful contempt. He began with two fours in Faulkner's opening over, before two more followed in the next – both thrashed through the covers. Kohli faced 16 balls of the bowler's in all, and plundered 29 runs off them. He was eventually dismissed for 106 (off 92 balls), caught at mid-off off an innocuous delivery. He stood there in anguished disbelief for a few seconds before walking away.

Earlier, as a hot morning gave way to a cloudy afternoon, Australia made rapid progress after electing to bat first. Warner did not look like he had been away at all, giving Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav an early beating. It did not help that he was let off on 39 by Yadav spilling at short fine leg. India was made to pay as the left-hander carried on making 93, adding 187 runs for the first wicket in the company of Finch.

Australia had decided before the start of the play that Mitchell Marsh would bat at one drop, so that he may spend time at the crease. As he struggled, ambling to two off the first 16 balls, Jadeja tied one end down, ensuring Australia scored no more than 35 runs between the end of the 28th and the 35th overs. India was unprepared, though, for what would follow. Steve Smith made a delightful 51 off 29 balls before Glenn Maxwell launched an assault on Ishant Sharma. Eighteen runs came off the 50th over bowled by Ishant as Australia finished with the highest total of the series.

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