10 October, Guwahati
An all-round Australia thrashed India by eight wickets in the second Twenty20 International (T20I) to square the three-match series 1-1 at the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) Barsapara Stadium here on Tuesday.
The 37,500-odd crowd at India’s latest venue anticipated a run feast but were denied, thanks to a disciplined bowling effort from the tourists, who opted to bowl on winning the toss after a light drizzle.
Chasing a paltry 119, Australia initially got a taste of their own medicine from India’s new ball pair of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to be reduced to 13/2.
Skipper David Warner (2) was the first man to be dismissed off a short-pitched ball from Bumrah before Bhuvneshwar struck with the wicket of the in-form Aaron Finch (8), comfortably caught by captain Virat Kohli on both occasions.
All-rounder Moises Henriques (62 not out) and Travis Head (48 not out) then started the repair work cautiously before launching an all-out attack on the Indians to eventually end up with a 109-run undefeated third wicket stand.
India’s wrist spinners — Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav — failed to generate any purchase from the wicket like their Aussie counterpart Adam Zampa.
Henriques was the more destructive of the two, as the right-hander brought up his second T20I half century by clobbering Kuldeep for two successive maximums ending India’s hopes.
Earlier, Australia rode on the pace of Jason Behrendorff (4/21) and leg-spinner Adam Zampa (2/19) to pack off India for a paltry 118.
Behrendorff used the overcast conditions well to send back the duo of Rohit Sharma (8) and skipper Virat Kohli for a duck in the very first over.
Rohit looked good during his brief stay, starting off with two boundaries before an in-swinger from the pacer trapped him plumb in front.
One ball later, Kohli found himself cramped for room, forcing him to play across the line but only resulted in a caught and bowled dismissal for Behrendorff.
The third over witnessed the dismissal of Manish Pandey (6) before opener Shikhar Dhawan (2) was packed back in the next over by Behrendorff.
Tottering at 27/4, Kedar Jadhav (27) and former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (13) joined forces but Australia looked simply unstoppable on the night.
India on the other hand, failed to get going with Dhoni being stumped for the first time in a T20 International after adding 33 runs for the fifth wicket with Jadhav.
Jadhav looked fluent during his stay, slamming three boundaries and a six to get to a run-a-ball 27 before being outfoxed by a wrong one from Zampa.
Reeling at 70/7 by the 13th over, all-rounder Hardik Pandya offered some resistance with a 23-ball 25, but a brilliant low catch by Dan Christian at the long off boundary off Marcus Stoinis spoilt India’s last chance to accelerate the scoring rate.
Earlier, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal declared the stadium open for international cricket, minutes before the toss was won by the Australian skipper.
(Tridib Baparnash can be contacted at email@example.com)