Mohali: India's opening pair, Rohit Sharma, and Shikhar Dhawan struck a massive opening partnership against the Australian cricket team to set the tone for the rest batsmen to take India towards a mammoth total. The duo posted a 193 runs partnership, falling just short of 19 runs, which would have made it their highest stand.
Shikhar Dhawan ended his prolonged bad patch with a career-best 143 off 115 balls and in Rohit Sharma's company guided India to a commanding 358/9 in the fourth ODI against Australia here on Sunday.
India looked a completely different side with opening duo putting on 193 runs on arguably the flattest track on offer during the ongoing series.
While Dhawan got his 16th hundred in ODIs, vice-captain Rohit (95 off 92 balls) missed out on what could have been a very well-deserved 23rd hundred with Australian bowlers looking like lambs for slaughter.
The first wicket fell as the hitman gift-wrapped a short one, trying to pull, but did not manages to keep it down, as he gifted an easy catch to Handscomb off Richardson's short ball.
Pat Cummins (5/70 in 10 overs) and Jhye Richardson (3/85 in 9 overs) shared the spoils but were taken to task by the Indian openers for their wayward bowling.
Dhawan, who last reached a three-figure mark against Pakistan in an Asia Cup match in September 2018, was in fluent touch from the onset, hitting 18 fours and three sixes.
It released the pressure on Rohit, who initially was watchful even as Dhawan went after the bowling.
With another opening slot hopeful KL Rahul inducted into the playing XI, the 33-year-old Dhawan finally looked to have been shaken out of his comfort zone and played like only he can.
On a ground where it all started with a dream Test debut back in 2013 against the same opposition, the southpaw decided to ease any worries that the team management had with regards to his form going into the World Cup.
With left-arm seamer Jason Behrendorff and premier speedster Pat Cummins feeding him on his legs, Dhawan got a flurry of boundaries inside the first six overs.
There is a saying about Dhawan that if he gets a cover drive in the initial overs, he is a difficult man to stop.
On a track, where the bowlers needed to pitch it further up, the Aussies bowled short and it helped Dhawan to muscle it through the mid-wicket region repeatedly.
Glenn Maxwell's (0/61 in 8 overs) venom-less off-breaks were like cannon fodder for Dhawan, who deposited two half-trackers for maximum.
Rohit also gained in confidence as lofted Adam Zampa (1/57 in 10 overs) for a huge six. Skipper Aaron Finch (/22 in 3 overs) introduced himself but his friendly slow left-arm bowling was treated with contempt by Rohit.
He picked up Richardson's slow bouncers and guided one behind square and pulled one in-front. However, in his bid to reach the three-figure mark with a six, he deposited the third one down deep mid-wicket's throat with five to get for his hundred.
Dhawan continued to attack as he surpassed his previous best of 137 against South Africa at the MCG during the 2015 World Cup.
He looked good for a double hundred but was out trying to give Cummins the charge.
The stage was set for Rahul (26, 31 balls) and Rishabh Pant (36, 24 balls) to get at least a quick-fire half-century but both wasted their opportunities even as Vijay Shankar (26 off 14 balls) ensured that India crossed 350....