Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s 40th ODI century and bowlers’ collective effort took hosts to a 8-run victory over Australia at Nagpur in the second of the five-match series on Tuesday. Put into bat first, India got off to a poor start but managed 250 all-out in 48.2 overs riding on Kohli’s sublime century (116 off 120 balls). In reply, Australian batsmen got off to starts but no one held onto their ends to take their side through. As a result, the Men in Yellow folded for 242 in 49.3 overs.
Australian openers — Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja — got the team off to a positive start. A 50-run stand took them ahead in the moderate chase. India’s pacers — Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami — erred with their line and lengths at regular basis. As a result, Kohli introduced his spinners in form of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav in a bid to slow the tempo. The openers looked at ease before Finch went for a sweep, off Kuldeep, and was trapped lbw for 37.
This triggered Australia’s downfall. Khawaja (38) followed suit with a soft dismissal off Kedar Jadhav. It was a lapse in concentration from the left-hander who gave a simple catch to the Indian skipper at short covers. The onus rested on Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb. Marsh, who had played Kuldeep with ease in the reverse series at home, was content to start with singles. Handscomb also didn’t take any risk and the duo tried to rebuild.
Against the run of play, Jadeja got rid of Marsh. It was a delivery drifitng down the pads, but got a thick edge off the left-hander who went for a flick and was caught by MS Dhoni. In-form Glenn Maxwell’s innings never took off and was outfoxed by Kuldeep.
At one stage, it looked like Alex Carey and Marcus Stoinis would walk off with a win with the asking rate well under control. However, Kuldeep had the final laugh after going for a few in the previous overs. Eventually, Bumrah and Shami got their acts right and dented Australia’s chase but it was Vijay Shankar’s all-roud show that will remain itched in everyone’s mind. It was upto him to defend 11 off 6 balls and he did it in style.
Shankar trapped Stoinis on a seam-up delivery who missed the length completely to be adjudged lbw. The all-rounder wrapped Australia’s innings with a brilliant yorker to rattle Adam Zampa’s stumps.
India’s innings was led by Kohli’s 40th century. He found an able partner in Shankar (46) whereas Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja contrinuted with 21 apiece.
While Kohli’s 116 was the difference between both sides, the turning point was the spin trio of Jadhav, Jadeja and Kuldeep who shared five wickets among themselves (apart from Jadeja’s run-out to send Handscomb packing).
In addition, this becomes India’s 500th ODI victory. They also remain unbeaten versus the visitors at VCA Stadium, Nagpur with four wins on trot.