Virat Kohli wins the battle for India and peace for Aussie captain

Shikhar Dhawan hooks during his innings of 117 as India beat Australia in London yesterday. Picture: PA.
Shikhar Dhawan hooks during his innings of 117 as India beat Australia in London yesterday. Picture: PA.
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Shikhar Dhawan’s composed century drove India to a 36-run World Cup win over Australia in which captain Virat Kohli and veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni both played peacemaker.

Dhawan’s 117 steered India to 352 for five, their fourth-highest World Cup total, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar claiming three wickets for 50 runs and Jasprit Bumrah three for 61 as Australia were dismissed for 316.

Aaron Finch’s men never threatened the record World Cup chase required for victory, even though Steve Smith mustered 69 and David Warner 56.

India skipper Kohli posted a punchy 82 and also ordered his fans to stop booing Australia’s Smith, who is still receiving abuse about his now-served ban for ball tampering.

Former captain Dhoni knocked 27 from 14 balls in a neat cameo, but gained most attention for keeping wicket without the Indian army dagger symbol on his gloves.

India’s wicketkeeper was reprimanded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for wearing the army insignia during the opening World Cup win over South Africa, and warned not to display the symbol again. Dhoni is an honorary lieutenant colonel of India’s territorial army but opted to avoid a collision course with tournament chiefs at The Oval.

The controversial “Zing” bails failed to fall for the fifth time in the tournament too, Warner getting the break despite playing Bumrah on to his own stumps. Bumrah pressed on undeterred, however, claiming the timely wicket of Usman Khawaja in another fine seam bowling performance. India’s second successive win in the competition meant a first defeat for Australia in their third match.

Rohit Sharma backed up his unbeaten 122 against South Africa with a smart 57, as India racked up a sizeable score without ever truly cutting loose at the crease.

Kohli’s 82 means he now boasts 91 scores of 50 and higher since his 2008 ODI debut, with Kumar Sangakkara next with 66.

The superstar skipper’s powers even apparently extend to conducting India’s fervent fans. The Oval was a sea of blue shirts, and those Indian followers dished out heavy boos to former Australia captain Smith when he went out to field on the boundary. India’s captain knew immediately what the fuss was about, waving at the supporters and ordering them to clap instead. They responded to his appeal. Smith thanked Kohli on the field for the gesture, and this proved to be a match played in the right spirit.