Rohit lauds pace bowlers as India clinch ODI series
Skipper Rohit Sharma on Saturday hailed India's seam bowlers after the hosts hammered New Zealand by eight wickets to clinch the series in the second one-day international.
Pace spearhead Mohammed Shami returned figures of 3-18 to help dismiss the Black Caps for 108 after India elected to bowl first in Raipur.
Rohit made 51 as India romped home in 20.1 overs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
And the captain said his bowlers had made an impression with their seam movement at home since the recent ODI sweep of Sri Lanka when Mohammed Siraj led the charge with nine wickets.
"These last five games (including three against Sri Lanka), bowlers have really stepped up," Rohit said after the win.
"You expect that kind of bowling, that kind of seam movement outside India. But these guys have got a lot of skills, they have been working on that for all this while and you could see the reward."
Indian pitches are known to be spin-friendly, in contrast to wickets in Australia and England where fast bowlers have a bigger role.
At the toss Rohit took a while to announce his decision to field, and told the presenter he "forgot" about the team call.
But things soon turned serious when Shami struck in the first over and with his fellow quicks had the tourists reeling at 15-5 by the 11th over.
"I feel that the more you work with the ball in practice, the more success will come," said man of the match Shami.
"As a new-ball bowler, it's important to assess the conditions and pass the message quickly to the other bowlers as well."
Glenn Phillips made 36 as he combined with the middle- and lower-order batsmen including Michael Bracewell (22) and Mitchell Santner (27) to take the total past 100, but the innings lasted only 34.3 overs.
After Shami's opening-ball heroics, fellow quick Hardik Pandya and spinner Washington Sundar took over to return two wickets each.
- Rohit on fire -
Shami bowled Finn Allen on the fifth ball of the first over, at a venue making its international debut.
Siraj sent back Henry Nicholls, caught at slip for two, before Shami and Pandya took two wickets caught-and-bowled to rattle the visitors, whose skipper Tom Latham fell for one.
Phillips and Bracewell attempted to rebuild and hit back in a 41-run sixth-wicket stand before Shami broke through.
He got Bracewell, who hit 140 in his team's 12-run loss in the opener, caught behind.
Phillips kept up the defiance in another partnership with the left-handed Santner. The pair put on 47 before Pandya bowled Santner.
Phillips departed in an attempt to hit out spinner Sundar only to be caught at mid-wicket, and the innings soon folded.
"We just couldn't build partnerships at the top," said Latham. "Guys lower down tried to fight but it wasn't easy. We didn't adapt well today, considering the surface."
The Indian openers Rohit and Gill, who hit a match-winning 208 in the previous match, put on 72 runs for the first wicket.
Rohit struck some delightful boundaries including a six off his trademark hook shot to ease into the target.
He kept up the charge as he reached his 50 in 47 balls but soon fell lbw off fast bowler Henry Shipley.
Virat Kohli hit a few boundaries before he was stumped by Latham off Santner for 11.
Gill hit the winning four with the left-handed Ishan Kishan at the other end.
The final match is on Tuesday in Indore.
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