OUT…or is it? Short, slow ball, Dhawan swings hard for a pull and gets a top edge. Caught. 137 off 146 balls. What a great innings. It’s been given out now after checking for the no ball. India 261/3.
Free hit but just a single to Rahane. India are nudging 6 runs per over.
Rahane reaches his fifty with a single. It’s been a brilliant knock. India 237/2 after 41 overs.
Swing and a miss from Dhawan. Then he gets a single and there are still two balls left in the over.
The pick up on that shot was terrific.
SIX! Dhawan moves to off and hits a straight ball over long leg for six. Great shot.
Morkel continues. India got 50 off the powerplay.
India 227/2 after 40 overs.
Single to deep square leg as Steyn strays down leg side.
FOUR. Now a short, rising ball, late cut to fine third man for four, almost right behind the keeper.
SIX! First six of the Indian innings. Slower ball from Steyn, Dhawan just hits through the line and clears the long on boundary.
FOUR. That ball could have reached Antartica if there was no boundary and no fencing. It was hit so hard. Rahane just crashed it through the off side and the ball had reached the boundary before you could say Morkel. India 214/2 after 39 overs.
FOUR. Brilliant response to a great short ball. Slightly pitched up, Rahane hits on the up, straight through the line and down the ground.
Morkel is back and he’s also bowling fast like there’s no tomorrow. Rahane pulls out of the way of a really quick ball.
Dhawan leaves the crease and Steyn follows him with a slower one. Dhawan misses. Three runs off the over. India 206/2 after 38 overs.
Three runs off five balls so far off this over.
The next ball hurries onto the batsman, outside off, but again it’s through to the keeper before the batsman has completed his shot.
Rahane keeps out a pacy delivery but he can’t get a single. A couple of good overs from Steyn will be worth their weight in gold at this point.
Short ball, Dhawan backs away and plays it to gully. India take a quick single.
Balls spears in, fast, straight and short. Dhawan thinks about it, then leaves, but the ball is already in the keeper’s hands.
Dale Steyn comes back. Big throw of the dice from SA.
Another single brings up the 200 for India in the 37th over. India 203/2 after 37 overs.
FOUR. Half-tracker, Dhawan lifts it over square leg for four. The crowd is going wild.
Rahane reverse sweeps for one. Partnership 60 off 55. Rahane 37 off 27.
FOUR. Now the ball pitches on leg and Rahane gets a touch on it. The ball flies to the fine leg boundary. India 195/2 after 36 overs.
FOUR. Duminy drops it short, and Rahane goes over the infield, and gets the boundary.
I guess the batting powerplay is on, though India are still dealing mainly in singles.
India have never lost a match when Dhawan scored an ODI hundred. But he must feel great, because he has been struggling for form all season and has been severely panned by critics.
FOUR. THAT’s DHAWAN’s CENTURY. Beautiful drive through cover point, he realised late that he had to run, but it didn’t matter as the ball went for four. India 183/2 after 35 overs. Dhawan 103 off 122.
Rahane takes a single and now Dhawan is on strike. One ball to go.
Dabbed away and excellent running gets India two.
Rahane tries to take a single but the ball is straight back at the bowler. Everyone wants Shikhar on strike. Shikhar, Rahane, the crowds, even South Africa.
FOUR. Wide, full ball outside off as Parnell continues to bowl badly. Rahane cracks it for four through wide third man.
Down the track, can’t get it past short mid off. Duminy keeps Dhawan on 99. India 172/2 after 34 overs.
He again tries to nudge and run, but the ball has merely reached short cover and Dhawan has to go back.
Dhawan on 99. He dabs it and tries to run, sent back and thankfully so.
Rahane pinches a quick single, and Dhawan barely makes it in.
Dhawan on 98. The crowd expects. And he nudges a single to short fine leg to move to 99.
Rahane hit two boundaries in the last over. The second one was an under edge which the keeper DROPPED.
India reach 155/2 after 32 overs and it’s drinks.
Has Dhawan’s mindset changed as he approaches a century? Let’s hope not because India’s run rate is still below 5.
Morkel finally bowls a reasonable delivery, tucking Dhawan up and the ball trickles to the keeper. The next ball is also good length and is played away to the on side by Dhawan.
Short, slow ball outside off, Rahane tries to steer it fine but misses.
Morkel continues and India continue with the quick singles. When will they take the powerplay? Dhawan is on 94.
Premeditated reverse sweep. Ball ended up full on middle but Rahane did it anyway. Gets two to sweeper cover. India 153/2 after 31 overs.
Oh. Rahane was on the drive, almost fell out of his crease, and missed. The keeper flicked off the bails but the batsman was safe.
Now he gets beaten for spin, hangs his bat out at the ball misses the edge.
Slightly short, punched through off and India get two more. Good to see that Kohli’s wicket against the run of play hasn’t affected their fluency.
Rahane sweeps, Morkel dives to stop, misfields, but he stopped two runs.
Duminy has been brought back.
Dhawan drives, slightly in the air but it’s safe. Morkel dives to stop but India run a single. Dot off the last ball, India 146/2 after 30 overs.
Dhawan checks his straight drives, it trickles down the ground and India get another single. And then another from Rahane’s bat. India are judging singles well at the moment.
Imran Tahir continues, Dhawan advances and scores a single to long off. Reaches 90.
Now he’s dabbed a late cut and gets a single to third man. Another single off the last over keeps Dhawan on strike. India 141/2 after 29.
Rahane is taking his time settling in. This could be SA’s chance to put India under pressure.
Morne Morkel is back into the attack. First ball is defended by Dhawan, who’s moved to 87.
India 138/2 after 28 overs.
Ajinkya Rahane is the new batsman.
OUT! Shortish ball, there for the pull, and Kohli just picks out the short mid on, who took a good low catch. Kohli is gone for 46 off 60 balls, India 136/2.
Short ball, pulled hard into the ground, and India run a single even as there is another bit of good fielding at short cover. 136/1 after 27 overs.
Misfield by Philander gets two for India. If you can milk Steyn you can milk any bowler in the world.
Pulled away to long leg for two. SA continue to bowl short. Perhaps a fuller length would be better?
Short ball this time, right on the body, Kohli ducks much better than Dhawan though.
FOUR. Steyn charges in, bowls full, and Kohli drives him straight down the ground for four. ‘Could have been Tendulkar’ says the commentator.
India reach 123/1 after 25 overs. Nearly 5 an over now.
One run. du Plessis is now guilty of a needless throw. Dhawan was back in his crease, the throw hit the stumps, but India ran one off the ricochet. Steyn is unhappy.
Kohli has played a deft second fiddle even as Dhawan goes bonkers.
FOUR. Short ball, Dhawan pulls to the long leg boundary.
By the way, Steyn is back into the attack. SA really need wickets.
Two runs when there shouldn’t have been one. Dhawan taps to off and runs, fielder coming in throws at the wrong end and it’s overthrows. The fielder backing up misfields so India run another.
Now he drives with much more confidence and gets two in the deep on the off side. India 114/1 after 24 overs. Very good over.
Kohli though looks far less confident. He has now missed two out of two balls.
Dhawan was moving away, then late cuts the next ball to third man for one.
FOUR. What a shot. Shot of his tournament so far. Length ball slightly on the fuller side, crashed down the ground, mid off had no chance.
FOUR. Brilliant shot from Dhawan. Short ball, Dhawan slides back, plays a cute upper cut and the ball races to the fence.
Another single and 100 is up for India in the 23rd over. India 103/1 after 23 overs.
FOUR. Short, sits up, and Dhawan crashes it through square leg for four.
Duminy continues and Dhawan can’t get a middle stump topspinner away.
Storms heading to Melbourne?
India reach 94/1 after 22 overs.
Free hit, Kohli goes over the infield, but gets it high on the bat. Wide long on catches it but it’s not out anyway and India get two.
No ball from Wayne Parnell, and there’s a FREE HIT coming up!
The crowd is cheering every run now. But India’s run rate is still hugging 4. Need some acceleration. How about taking on a spinner?
Wild short ball, rises head high but still outside off. Dhawan smashes it into the ground on the off side and runs a single. Dhawan had to jump to get over it.
Four off the over, India 87/1 after 21 overs.
Short ball and Kohli hits it back to Duminy, who nearly runs out Dhawan! If he had hit Dhawan was gone. However it turned into overthrows for one.
Duminy came into the attack in the 19th over. SA’s sharp infield continues to deny India singles.
India go for a quick single off a Kohli defensive prod. Rosseow charges in and throws even as he is sliding. But Dhawan reaches safety just in time. India 83/1.
Slid off the middle off the bat to third man. India gets another single.
Two singles off the next three balls.
DROPPED. South Africa have dropped Dhawan. Another shortish ball outside off, Dhawan slashes again and Hashim Amla lets it go at backward point. It was hurrying towards him but should have been taken, given the usual standard of SA’s fielding.
FOUR. Short ball outside off, pacy, and Dhawan has thrashed it, smashed it, blugeoned it through the vacant gully for four. 50 up for Dhawan. India 77/1 after 18 overs.
Yet another short ball, this time it’s neck high but still outside off. Square leg umpire says one for the over.
Another searing good length delivery gets hit down to third man for one. Dhawan moves to 48.
The next ball is a wide as Parnell goes even further outside off.
Wayne Parnell comes into the attack. Bowls slightly short outside off, swinging away and Dhawan slashes hard but misses.
Single to end the over, India 70/1.
Top spinner from Tahir, ball hit’s Shikhar’s pad and loops up, is caught by short leg. Huge appeal and after a while they decide not to go for the review. A good decision because the ball was nowhere near the bat.
AB de Villiers makes another great fielding effort. Slides in from short mid on and throws at the non striker’s end even as he is sliding.
First ball after drinks is eased down to long on for one.
Imran Tahir continues, but he’s warming up as if he’s coming back after a long break.
It’s drinks time.
Pulled, and lands a bit in front of an incoming fine leg. India 67/1 after 16 overs.
Now the next ball is not delivered. Dhawan backed away and Morkel backed out at the last moment. Revenge for that other over.
Another short ball, Dhawan is tucked up.
FOUR. Another short ball, Dhawan pulls hard, this time it didn’t rise as much. Hit it clean to the on side boundary.
Brute of a delivery, Dhawan gets into an awkward position, ball hits the glove again.
Morne continues. He has conceded 20 off 19 balls so far.
Kohli dabs Tahir for one and India are 61/1 after 15.
Apparently Vernon Philander has developed a ‘tight hamstring’ and is off the field.
Meanwhile, India continue to milk Tahir.
FOUR. Beautiful on drive from Dhawan, but that superb SA fielding nearly stops it at mid on. The ball slows down but still makes it to the boundary. India 56/1 after 14 overs.
Almost played on! Dhawan gets an underage and the ball flies over the stumps. Both bowler and batsman thought for a moment it had hit the stumps. The commentary team paid no attention.
Dhawan pulls away at the last moment, Morkel was almost through his run up.
Short ball, dies on the batsman and Kohli pulls into the ground. Gets one for all the effort.
Morne Morkel continues, slightly outside off stump and Dhawan gets a thick edge to third man.
Down the track but played straight to short mid on. India 49/1 after 13 overs.
Dhawan drives to wide long off and there’s a misfield which allows him to come back for two.
India are looking confident now as they begin to milk Tahir for runs.
Short ball but can’t get it past point. Just one off the over. 37/1 after 11 overs.
The next two balls are defended, as Sachin clicks a selfie and the commentators continue to devote time to him.
Flat, full ball and Virat plays a tennis shot to long off for one.
Imran Tahir comes into the attack, and gets reverse swept immediately. No success though.
None off the last ball, India 36/1 after 10 overs.
FOUR. Up and over. Slight width and height and Dhawan thrashes it over cover point for four. Deliberately played in the air and it worked.
Dhawan decides to take a long look at Morne as he plays out the first three balls.
Morne Morkel is introduced into the attack from the Members’ End.
Three runs off the over, India 32/1 after 9 overs.
Two easy singles are pinched thereafter however, reducing anxiety levels in our newsroom.
JP Duminy is introduced into the attack and immediately causes problems for Dhawan.
Last ball gets a quick single, Dhawan sprints into his crease at the other end but a direct hit would have been interesting.
FOUR. Nice ball outside off, perfect length and Dhawan crashes it through covers for four.
The commentators now find it apt to discuss Sachin Tendulkar instead of the poor batsmen at the crease, or the bowlers toiling away.
Now a length ball on middle and Kohli grows in confidence as he tucks it away to the on side for one. Then Tendulkar comes up on screen and the crowd goes wild.
FOUR. Driven well by Kohli through off, he leaned well into the shot. An India chant goes up.
Yet another good stop in the covers, and India are 19/1 after 7 overs.
Sachin Tendulkar has arrived at the stadium and Harsha Bhogle is beside himself with joy. The crowd roars like they came to see only him.
FOUR. Third boundary for Dhawan who continues to look good among bad. Pitched up, rare bad ball and Dhawan drives well through covers.
Second ball gets a single to third man. The crowd cheers as if Kohli just reached 50.
Steyn races in again and Kohli leaves. The ball is carrying really well to the keeper and it’s also swinging.
Dhawan manages to negotiate the last two balls and now India are 14/1.
Short ball, got big on Dhawan as he swivel pulled. Managed to get it over short fine leg though. A couple of runs scored.
Kohli finally manages a single and the crowd erupts. A lot of Indian support in Melbourne.
Philander to Dhawan, slightly on leg and tucked away for one.
Swing and a miss. Virat swipes and misses outside off. India 10/1 after 5 overs.
Now Dhawan gets a single and will be relieved to be off strike.
Another short ball, but slower this time and Dhawan almost played it straight to point. He played early and is lucky it didn’t carry.
Oh. Short ball, not too short. Rises into Dhawan who only found out at the last moment. Couldn’t get out of the way, hits the glove on the way up.
Steyn continues to Dhawan, who is looking slightly more circumspect now.
And the over ends in a maiden. India 9/1 after 4 overs.
No runs off four balls so far. There is a lot of outswing being extracted by the SA bowlers.
Virat Kohli is in and gets tested with a Philander outswinger straight away.
OUT! Rohit Sharma is gone, run out for 0. Dhawan smashed the ball into the covers and de Villiers is like a hare. Picks up, throws it accurately at the non striker’s end. There is no way Rohit can get back. India 9/1 after 3 overs.
FOUR. Now he does. Outswinger again, high on pace, Dhawan drives. The ball flies between point and third man for four. Not sure the timing was too sweet.
First two balls fetch no run. Steyn is yet to concede.
Steyn is continuing and he looks a bit like Allan Donald from afar.
This time he drives through the off side, and there’s a misfield! India get one. India 5/0 after 2 overs
FOUR. But Philander is not Steyn, and he strays on to leg. Dhawan flicks it through the on side for four.
Second ball is defended well by Dhawan. Same for the third ball.
Philander, averaging 21, to Dhawan, who crashes it though the off side but gets stopped at point.
Drives and misses, maiden over, India 0/0
Steyn is bowling outswinger after outswinger, and Rohit is still being defensive.
Third ball swings way outside off stump but Rohit leaves. Not wide enough to be wide though.
Driven to mid on but straight to mid on. Good sound off the middle of the bat.
First ball is carefully defended by Rohit.
Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are out to the middle. They will immediately be in Dale Steyn’s firing line.
8:36 IST Sunday, 22 February 2015
It’s now time for the toss.
Dhoni calls heads and Dhoni has won the toss. He says India will bat first.
He says the squad is essentially the same. AB de Villiers says he would have batted first too, but then sometimes you don’t know how much to get batting first.
8:30 IST Sunday, 22 February 2015
Ganguly says there is much grass on the wicket, which means the fast bowlers will get help. He says the spinners won’t get much help except some bounce.
Pommie Mbangwa says the curator has done a ‘fantastic’ job. It looks hard and there will be nice pace and carry, he says. But the sun beating down makes it slightly less hostile to the batsmen.
8:16 IST Sunday, 22 February 2015
On another note, it’s nearly time for the toss.
This puts things in perspective:
And here’s some more madness from India. A lion with Indian players painted on it.
6:55 IST Sunday, 22 February 2015
Just around two hours to go for the match to start and tweets coming from MCG makes it amply clear that excitement is already reaching a frenzy.
Some blast from the past
Indian dressing room