India pitched in with yet another all-round display in the third ODI at Mount Maunganui against New Zealand on Monday to seal the 5-match series 3-0, with two games still left in the bag.


A disciplined bowling effort, a mighty batting dominance and some excellence on the field allowed India to bid adieu to Virat Kohli – who is heading off for some well-deserved rest – with a pleasing result after the home side had been restricted to 243 runs, despite a fighting knock of 93 by Ross Taylor. With as many as four Indian bowlers picking 2 wickets apiece and with Rohit Sharma and Kohli coming to the party with a solid 113-run stand, the Indians were hardly in trouble as they sealed the deal convincingly.

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The Indian batters, especially Shikhar Dhawan got into aggressive mode straightaway as he attacked Doug Bracewell in particular, as he was hit for three fours in an over and then went for two more in his next. Punches, drives and quick running between the wickets helped India get off to a flourishing start before the left-hander was sent back by Trent Boult after he edged one to slip.

The dismissal, however, failed to curb India’s ruthlessness, as Rohit and Kohli got together to effectively take the game away. They played calmly and though the boundaries did dry out, the fact that no wicket fell meant that the pressure was always on the Black Caps. Once the initial momentum had been set, the duo started finding gaps with ease and they eventually got to their 100-run partnership in only 105 balls – their 16th hundred-plus stand in ODIs, and ninth in a run chase.

However, the instinct to attack in the middle overs led to their downfall, with Rohit getting stumped by Mitchell Santner and Kohli falling to Boult. However, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik – playing the game in MS Dhoni’s absence – saw India through, remaining unbeaten as they put on 77 runs for the fourth wicket.

Earlier in the day, the pacers delivered the goods for the Indian side after the home team opted to bat first. Ambitious shots saw the demise of Colin Munro and Martin Guptill. The visitors had made two changes to their side, bringing in Hardik Pandya for Vijay Shankar and Karthik replacing Dhoni, who was suffering from back spasms. Pandya, in particular, shrugged off the controversies that had surrounded him in the last few weeks with a fine gritty show as he kept the runs in check whilst also being a live-wire on the field. The Indian bowling unit as a whole excelled in their roles, allowing the Kiwi team to score only five fours and a six in the first ten overs and then going more than 11 overs without a four in the middle overs.

Taylor and Tom Latham looked to break the shackles by not attempting anything risky as they got to their individual fifties. They were, however, unable to get the scoring rate over five and as the team lost their last 7 wickets for only 65 runs, an Indian victory was always on the cards.

Brief Scores:

New Zealand 243 in 49 overs (Ross Taylor 93, Tom Latham 51; Mohammed Shami 3-41, Hardik Pandya 2-45) lost to India 245/3 in 43 overs (Rohit Sharma 62, Virat Kohli 60; Trent Boult 2-40) by 7 wickets.

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