India registered an emphatic ODI series win over the Aussies and cemented their number one spot in the ICC ODI rankings by winning the fifth and final ODI by seven wickets. The Men in Blue had briefly occupied the top spot after taking a 3-0 lead in the series but the loss to Australia in the fourth ODI in Bengaluru saw them slip-up to second position. For the Aussies, this was the fifth series loss for the 2015 ICC World Cup winners in last eight away bilateral ODI series.
Winning the toss and electing to bat, openers David Warner (53) and Aaron Finch (32) provided a terrific start to the Aussies. However, the Aussie middle order once again failed to provide the impetus to a promising start. While Hardik Pandya got rid of Finch who mistimed his shot to Bumrah at mid-off, Kedar Jadhav took the prized wicket of Smith, who missed a sweep shot and got caught plumb in front of the wickets. The two quick wickets triggered a middle-order collapse, which saw Warner and Peter Handscomb return to the pavilion, leaving the Aussies under severe pressure.
Travis Head (42) and Marcus Stoinis (46) put together a hard toiled 87-run partnership to steady the Aussie ship, but got out just when they tried to push up the scoring rate. In the end the Aussies could only manage 52 runs in the last 10 overs, ending their innings at a modest 242/9. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was the pick amongst the Indian bowlers with figures 3/38 in his 10 overs.
Chasing a modest 243, openers Rohit Sharma (125) and Ajinkya Rahane (61) paved the way for a comprehensive win. Rohit not only completed his 14th ODI ton, but also became the ninth Indian to reach the 6000-run mark in ODIs. The duo's 124-run partnership was their third century stand in a row. Following the dismissal of Rahane, the skipper Virat Kohli (39) joined Rohit in the middle to take the team on the cusp of a big victory. India eventually got home in 42.5 overs with Manish Pandey hitting the winning runs.
The visitors will now face India in a three-match Twenty20 International series starting on October 7 in Ranchi. Despite winning the ODI series, India will be aware of the determined Aussies, who will be keen to make their mark.
In other matches, England registered a 4-0 win against the West Indies by winning the fifth and final ODI at The Rose Bowl in?Southampton. Powered by a Shai Hope half century, the West Indies posted 288/6 in 50 overs after England won the toss. In reply, Jonny Bairstow (141*) scored a magnificent century and Jason Roy scored 94 as England chased down the target with relative ease, getting the required runs in just 38 overs. The hosts now turn their attention to the upcoming Ashes series.
Elsewhere, South Africa defeated Bangladesh by 333 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series, while Sri Lanka pulled off a dramatic win over Pakistan in the first Test played between the two sides in the UAE. While the Proteas win was a one-sided affair, the game between Pakistan and Sri Lanka went down to the wire. With Pakistan chasing a target of just 138 runs to win the match, the Sri Lanka bowlers led by Rangana Herath weaved their magic to dismiss them for 114 and earn a narrow 21-run win. Herath took six wickets on the day and became the first left-arm spinner and the second Sri Lankan after Muttiah Muralitharan to reach 400 Test wickets.