Mount Maunganui: India’s celebrated opening pair Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan produced yet another century stand on Saturday to set up an overwhelming 90-run win in the second one-day international against New Zealand.
Sharma put their match-winning effort at Mount Maunganui down to “a great camaraderie” after the pair put on 154 for the first wicket at better than a run-a-ball.
The flying start laid the platform for India’s 324 for four before Kuldeep Yadav weaved his magic with the ball to roll New Zealand for 234.
Such a clinical demolition, following the equally dominant eight-wicket win in the first match, left New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson frustrated.
“It’s not so much the losing it’s probably just the way we’re losing,” Williamson said.
“It’s two games in a row now where we haven’t had control at any stage which is the part that is most frustrating.”
Sharma (87) and Dhawan (66) were rarely troubled in their stay at the crease which Sharma described as “a great partnership”.
It was their 14th century stand from 93 innings as openers together.
Only the now-retired Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly (21 century stands), Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden (16) and Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes (15) have produced more hundred-plus opening partnerships.
“We enjoy each other’s company in the middle and we share a great camaraderie between us,” Sharma said of their prolific run scoring.
“When we bat together, we understand each other’s game. That is more important and it’s crucial for the team as well when you get that kind of start. I’ve always enjoyed batting with Shikhar.”
Although New Zealand were able to match the required run rate through the first half of their innings none of the top order batsmen was able to settle in.
When Dhawan was dismissed for 66 and India were one for 154 in the 26th over, New Zealand at the same stage were 146 for five.
Sharma offered a chance with an edge off the first ball of the innings which went to the boundary as New Zealand did not have a first slip.
He faced 96 deliveries for his 87 and hit nine fours and three sixes while Dhawan’s 66 came off 67 balls and included nine fours.
Virat Kohli (43) and Ambati Rayudu (47) were unable to lift the run rate above run-a-ball pace with accurate bowling by New Zealand for most of the final 10 overs.
It took lusty blows from MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav to get the score over 300 when they smacked 35 runs in the last two overs.
While New Zealand scored freely in reply they lost wickets regularly.
When Kane Williamson found himself in the middle after the fifth over he tried to dominate, lashing out at Mohammed Shami with two sixes and a four off successive deliveries.
But Shami ended the over bowling Williamson for 20.
After Ross Taylor was stumped for 33, Kuldeep Yadav began to work his magic.
He removed Tom Latham for 34 and Colin De Grandhomme for three before claiming the wickets of Henry Nicholls (28) and Ish Sochi (nought) with successive balls to finish with four for 45 to go with his four for 39 in the first match of the series. All-rounder Doug Bracewell top scored for New Zealand with 57 off 46 deliveries.
The third match in the series is at Mount Maunganui on Monday.