Australia v India, 2nd T20I, Melbourne January 29, 2016

Buoyant India cruise to series win

349

India 3 for 184 (Rohit 60, Kohli 59) beat Australia 8 for 157 (Finch 74, Jadeja 2-32, Bumrah 2-37) by 27 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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India's first series victory of any kind in Australia since the summer of Monkeygate is proving an unmitigated disaster for the hosts, who now face real uncertainty over their captaincy. Aaron Finch twanged a hamstring as his side fell apart under the pressure of a chase for the second time in as many matches.

The game evolved in a near action replay of the opening match in Adelaide, as Australia were unable to capitalise on a strong start by Finch and Shaun Marsh in pursuit of a strong Indian total built upon the batting of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Steven Smith and David Warner are set to fly to New Zealand on Saturday, leaving a considerable leadership vacuum should Finch be unfit for the third T20 in Sydney on Sunday. His likely absence may at least mean an opportunity for Usman Khawaja, the outstanding batsman of the summer so far.

India's serenity made for a marked contrast, as an unchanged team from Adelaide built steadily into a firm tally batting first before defending it grandly with the help of some tremendous fielding. Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin were aided by Yuvraj Singh, while the medically-enforced absence of Darren Lehmann appears to have been felt in the way the Australians have shown little composure under pressure.

As had been the case in Adelaide, Australia's openers began with fluency and power, this time zooming to 94 inside 10 overs. However, the introduction of spin had again drawn chances, as Marsh and Finch (thrice) were both reprieved by MS Dhoni and his outfielders.

Oddly, Marsh responded to the surfeit of good fortune by trying his luck yet again against R Ashwin and being caught at long on. Chris Lynn did not last long, skying Hardik Pandya to be taken safely by Dhoni, before Glenn Maxwell was lured down by Yuvraj and stumped in the blink of an eye by India's captain.

Momentum was now flowing to India just as surely as it had done in the opening match, and Jadeja turned it into a torrent by holding a return catch from Shane Watson that may have struck him in the head without a brilliant interception. At the other end Finch's frustration was mounting despite his own strong effort.

This all compounded in the very next over when Matthew Wade called his captain through for a single so rapid that Jadeja's wide throw was good enough to have Dhoni breaking the stumps in time. On his way down the pitch, Finch appeared to ping a hamstring, and cursed the world as he hobbled off the field, his place in future plans now under a cloud to rank with any that hovered over Melbourne this afternoon.

The rest was academic - Wade hit out by way of contrition, James Faulkner was unluckily out when Dhoni fumbled onto the wicket for an accidental stumping, and the run rate blew out to dimensions that quietened a healthy crowd of 58,787. They went home aware that Australia's problems are mounting, while Indian plans fall usefully into place.

In addition to Warner and Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Boyce, Shaun Tait and Kane Richardson were dropped in the biggest upheaval to an Australian side since another T20 series, against West Indies in early 2013.

In their places were Tye, Maxwell, John Hastings, Scott Boland and Nathan Lyon. Hastings, Lyon and Tye made their T20 debuts as the selectors experimented ahead of the World T20 in India.

In the absence of Tait, it was a lower velocity pairing of Watson and John Hastings who shared the new ball, but the change of pace did not serve to diminish India's Powerplay strength. Forty-four from the first five overs was a fine start from Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan,

A greasy night following considerable rain in Melbourne throughout the day was always going to make Lyon's night challenging, and his first T20 over was to be his only one for the night. It was hurt badly by one ball that slipped, a high full toss being called no-ball and the free hit being deposited well over long on by Rohit.

Maxwell was also sent into the stands by Rohit, but he was to claim the wicket of Shikhar when the opener essayed a reverse sweep. That wicket left India 1 for 97 after 11 overs, and they were unable to accelerate full from there.

This had little to do with Kohli, who careered to 59 from 33 balls with some shots of matchless mastery, and more to do with an improved collective effort from the hots at the back end. Rohit lost some of his earlier momentum before being run out looking for a second, and Dhoni was not quite able to free his arms before Tye had him taken at long off as part of a generally impressive last over.

If anything, Tye's quietly assured display is the greatest discovery for Australia in the series so far. Bolstered by Big Bash League exposure, he looks capable of landing his yorkers under international pressure. By the end of the night, Tye was the selectors' only solace - the match and series plaudits were all India's, a feeling they last enjoyed in Australia after the triangular ODI series of early 2008.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kanad_Boston on February 2, 2016, 2:32 GMT

    @AMMO666: It is not necessary to become a pretty good side when you are already the best side in the whole world. If you do not believe me please look up the ICC ranking table. It is now 1-2-1. Very soon it will become 1-1-1.

  • john_bnsa on January 31, 2016, 23:04 GMT

    "Just this two T20 wins in friendly pitches " ~ sour grapes that's all. In 2013 when Johnson took England apart the pitches were fine. When the weakest away team in the world makes bigs scores on these pitches then these pitches are blamed!

  •   Ali Z Kiyani on January 31, 2016, 13:36 GMT

    Excellent performance by India. This is probably the team they should have had in the ODI's. Ishant Sharma, Yadav, Kumar aren't putting their best, India needs attacking bowlers, Bumrah looks good. Bumrah and Raina's inclusion in ODI's might have lead to a different result in ODI's. India's form in thisT20 series truly represents the class they have on their squad, just be more consistent. Well played!

  • Ammo666 on January 31, 2016, 3:19 GMT

    Just this two T20 wins in friendly pitches will never make IND a pretty good side...T20 is a funny game, even weaker teams wins somehow by either batting well or bowling well in an innings.... seems like this modified AUS'n T20 team is yet to be well set..IND took good advantage of that winning the series....

  • AJ_NY on January 30, 2016, 19:30 GMT

    @izzidole- correction: the last india-aus test series was NOT a whitewash. It was a 2-0 finish. Thinking of it, the test series in india was a whitewash (in favor of india, of course). Dont let your hate come in the way of facts. Cricinfo pls publish.

  • Oldtimer01 on January 30, 2016, 15:18 GMT

    @Baghels.A - thanks for the correction.

  • BradmanBestEver on January 30, 2016, 14:35 GMT

    India won a slogfest series. Next step is to win a cricket series.

  • IndianBarcafan on January 30, 2016, 12:35 GMT

    Congrats Indian team for winning a bilateral series outside of Subcontinent and West Indies after a long time .Throughout this Australian tour there have been some fans posting here claiming to be Australian fans but when in reality they aren't and are just bandwagoning so they could bash Indian team whenever they have lost (sadly quite often) we all know who they are and what nationalities they actually represent. Real Australian fans will either stay away from comment section or be gracious and sporting enough to congratulate India.Don't say Australians don't care about T20 because then how do you explain the super success of BBL ?? By constantly repeating that Australian bowling attack is 2nd or 22nd string you are disrespecting your own cricketers and even conceding the fact that beyond Hazelwood,Starc and Pattinson Australian bowling stocks are threadbare .But as i said real Australian fan will never do that

  • cricmatters on January 30, 2016, 11:43 GMT

    Impact bowlers like Mitchell Starc and Mictchell Johnson (both left arm - ideal against right handed batsmen) helped Australia win the limited over world cup on home soil. Without them, Australia looses that aura of invincibility and can be easily overcome by a determined opposition. Lyon is hardly a T20 spinner. They must find at least two good spinners who can bat a bit for the T20 Tournament in India or forget about going beyond Semi's in those conditions.

  • baghels.a on January 30, 2016, 11:14 GMT

    @OLDTIMER01: Just one correction Gavaskar had that altercation with Late Tony Grieg and not Chapel.

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