Visakhapatnam: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma hit contrasting half-centuries on a slow track as India managed a decent 269 for 6 in the series-deciding fifth ODI against New Zealand, here this evening.
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After failure in the first four games, Rohit was in his element hitting 70 off 65 balls while Kohli had to fight for his runs on a track that got slower with every over, managing 65 off 76 balls.
Kohli, who finished on top of the run charts in the five match series with 358 runs from five matches at an average of 119.33, was dismissed by leg-spinner Ish Sodhi (2/66) for the second time in succession when he tried to step out by only to be caught at long-off.
The Indian vice-captain was involved in two crucial 50-plus partnerships, first with Sharma and then with skipper MS Dhoni (41) but they lost three wickets for 30 runs with score of 220 for 5.
Manish Pandey got out for a duck but they averted danger with Kedar Jadhav playing a cameo of 39 from 37 balls.
He along with Axar Patel (24 from 18 balls) put together 46 from 39 to ensure that they get past 250.
The ODI world record holder for highest individual score was back in his usual explosive best slamming five boundaries and three sixes and had everything going in his way before a muscle cramp came in his way.
Rohit looked menacing during his time at the crease, Kohli was happy to play a second fiddle and rotated the strike on a slow track in an entertaining 79 partnership from 76 balls.
After Rohit got out, Kohli was involved in another crucial 71-run stand with Dhoni before the skipper was adjudged leg before to a dubious decision by debutant Indian umpire CK Nandan.
Sticking to No 4, Dhoni had a terrible start to his innings with five runs from 17 balls, and his first boundary came after 25 balls. Slowly he made up for the dot balls with four boundaries and one six but before he along with Kohli could make it big India lost three wickets in 30 runs.
The out-of-form Indian opener slammed his first 50 in five matches in an innings and he looked in ominous form before a muscle cramp in his right thigh made it difficult for him and he soon holed out to Neesham at deep mid-wicket.
On a turning wicket where the ball was not coming onto the bat, Rohit picked the balls at ease, hit with finesse and there was no way a Kiwi bowler could trouble him.