India vs Australia 2nd ODI in Nagpur: Indian all-rounder Vijay Shankar showed nerves of steel as he magnificently defended 11 runs in the final over against Australia in the second ODI to give the hosts a memorable victory by 8 runs in Nagpur. This was India’s 500th win in the 50-over format. The men in yellow needed 11 runs off 6 balls, Shankar responded by giving away only 2 runs and picking up two wickets to wrap Australia’s innings and complete the demolition job. (SCORECARD)
Defending a below-par total of 251, the men in blue were on the mark from the word go as they bowled and fielded with a purpose after skipper Virat Kohli smashed his 40th hundred in the second ODI of the five-match rubber on Tuesday. The hosts now lead the 5-match ODI series 2-0. On Saturday, Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni had helped India win the series opener by six wickets in Hyderabad. (MATCH HIGHLIGHTS)
Chasing 251, Australia were 240 for eight when Shankar got rid of dangerous Marcus Stoinins (52) in the very first ball of the 50th over and castled Adam Zampa in the third ball to trigger celebrations in the Indian camp. Before that, pacer Jasprit Bumrah (2/19), who is ever-reliable in death overs, dismissed Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pat Cummins in space of three balls in the 46th over and conceded just one run in the 48th over, playing a crucial role in India’s win after the spinners had choked the Australians in the middle overs.
It was Stoinis who had kept the visitors in hunt as he resisted the unrelenting Indian attack with aplomb and added 47-runs for the sixth wicket with Alex Carey (22). Chasing a tricky target on a deteriorating pitch, the visitors were got off to a solid start, courtesy a good opening partnership by Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja. The Aussie openers did wonderfully well to see through probing spells by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. The stand also helped Aussie batsmen to gain some confidence and the visitors were soon cruising at 83 for no loss before India’s spinners turned it around.
Kuldeep Yadav drew first blood when he trapped Finch LBW for 37 in the 15th over of the innings. Exactly six balls later and without a run being added, Kedar Jadhav accounted for Khawaja and Shaun Marsh respectively. Stoinis and Carey took the Aussie chase deep with their dogged batting but Kuldeep turned the tide in India’s favour by dismissing the latter.
After the first innings, it was clear that spinners will shape the outcome of the match and Kuldeep along with Ravindra Jadeja and Jadhav did strangulate the Australian innings. Between overs 13 and 33 the Indian bowlers conceded just one boundary.
Kuldeep, who was the most impressive bowler on show, was taken to cleaners by the two Aussies who creamed off 15 runs in the 43rd over to ease some pressure. The two batsmen showed tremendous grit under pressure but Kuldeep provided the much-needed breakthrough by castling Carey, who dragged it on his stumps.
Earlier, India captain Kohli’s resolute brilliant ton under pressure steered India to a competitive 250 despite a middle-order collapse in the second ODI. Australia’s spin troika of Adam Zampa (2/62 in 10 overs), Glenn Maxwell (1/45 in 10 overs) and Nathan Lyon (1/42 in 10 overs) bowled well in the middle overs although it was Pat Cummins who had the best figures of 4 for 29.
Kohli came in after Cummins sent back opener Rohit Sharma (0) in the very first over. The Indian skipper was in good touch and played some delightful drives whenever the ball was pitched up.
In conditions which tested the fitness of each and every player, Kohli struck only 10 boundaries and ran a lot of singles and twos in his 116-run knock.