India opener Rohit Sharma slammed a brilliant 119 off 128 balls on Sunday during the third ODI against Australia at M. Chinnaswamy, Bengaluru. The 32-year-old slammed a ton and bagged the Man of the Match. The India vice-captain also stitched a crucial 137-run stand for the second wicket with captain Virat Kohli to lay the platform for the Indian win.

“It was an important game, the decider, and we wanted to come out and enjoy ourselves,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony. Australia was restricted to 286/9 and India chased the target down with 15 balls to spare.

India wicketkeeper KL Rahul opened the innings with Rohit as regular opener Shikhar Dhawan had picked up an injury during the Australian innings. Rahul was dismissed in the 13th over when he was trapped leg-before wicket by Ashton Agar.

“To keep that Australian batting under 290 was a great effort from the bowling unit. Once KL (Rahul) got out, we knew we needed to stitch a big partnership there and no better person than the captain himself to be out there and us getting that crucial partnership,” said Rohit.

“The talk we had in the middle was that one of us wanted to keep going. At no stage, did we want the momentum to go towards the opposition. I was seeing and middling the ball well, and I said I would be the one to take the chances. Days like this, if it comes off, it looks good. If we had lost a wicket in the middle, it would have been different.”

Rohit departed for 10 in the first match at Mumbai and then scored 42 off 44 balls in the second ODI at Rajkot. He said that on Sunday he prioritised being in the middle longer over scoring runs and that may have been key.

“Australia always comes up with a good bowling attack. Their fast bowlers always challenge you with their variety and skills. The first two games, I was trying to do something different, and it didn’t come off. Today I just wanted to be there, and I was able to stay till 35th, 36th over,” he concluded.