Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bowlers defend 252 to help India go 2-0 up | India vs Australia | 2nd ODI | Sep 21 - 2017

2nd ODI: India vs Australia at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, Sep 21 - 2017, Cricket highlights
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It was a fantastic bowling effort by bowlers from both the sides in the 2nd ODI, but it was the Indian bowling attack, who was able to get the better of the Australian batsmen, as they defended 252 runs to help their team win the match by 50 runs. India, with the help of this win, go 2-0 up in the 5-match series.

Electing to bat first, India lost Rohit Sharma on the score of 19, but after that, it was the partnership between Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, which helped India to gain the upper hand. The conditions were hot and humid and it took a toll not only on the visitors, but also on the Indian batsmen. Both Kohli and Rahane, however, batted brilliantly in those tough conditions and scored their respective half-centuries. While Rahane looked rock-solid from the start of the innings, Kohli – who scored 8 off 22 balls – looked a bit tentative early on in the innings. However, as the game progressed, the Indian captain got into the groove and played some fine shots on both sides of the wicket.

Soon after Rahane completed his fifty, the 102-run partnership came to an abrupt end because of some excellent piece of fielding in the deep by Hilton Cartwright, who got the opener run out. Australia soon got another breakthrough as the new batsman, in Manish Pandey, was cleaned up by Ashton Agar.

A partnership was the need of the hour for India and the same was provided by Kohli and Kedar Jadhav, who added 55 runs for the fifth wicket. Kedar Jadhav batted with positive intent and was dealing in boundaries, but his knock of 24 was cut short by a sharp catch from Maxwell at point. Coulter-Nile, who was going through a fine spell, then provided his team with the most important breakthrough by getting Kohli back in the pavilion. The Indian skipper missed out on his 31st ODI century and was out for 92.

Kohli’s dismissal was followed by that of MS Dhoni, who had a rare failure and was out for 5. It was brilliant captaincy from Steven Smith, who himself got into the position of short extra-cover and took a fine catch on the bowling of Kane Richardson. The wickets of captain and former captain marked the downfall of the Indian team as they were able to score only 45 runs in the last 10 overs. From what looked like a certain 300 at one stage, the hosts ended up getting only 252.

It was a much better bowling performance from the Aussies in the death overs as compared to the last match and they had given their team a really good chance of levelling the series.

From India’s perspective, getting early wickets was important as they were not defending a big total. And it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who did that job for India as he got both the Australian openers back in the pavilion. The way he swung the ball around was amazing and the dismissal of Warner was a well-executed plan. Bhuvi kept bowling outside the off-stump channel and eventually found the outside edge of Warner’s bat. He could have also got Travis Head out in a similar fashion, but Rohit Sharma dropped a dolly at first slip and denied the bowler a third wicket.

The dropped chance proved to be costly for India, as Head along with his captain, revived the innings by stitching a fine partnership of 76 runs. The other Indian seamers were erratic in their line and lengths and made life comparatively easy for the Australian batsmen. It was only when the spinners came into the attack that the Indian team was able to slow down the scoring rate and also able to break the partnership.

Head, who struggled to read Yuzvendra Chahal and also got away with a close LBW call, was out to a full-toss on the bowling of the leg-spinner. The wicket brought Glenn Maxwell to the crease and just like the last match, he started off in an aggressive fashion against Kuldeep Yadav. Before Maxwell could do any further damage, he too was dismissed by some smart piece of bowling from Chahal. The leggie anticipated that Maxwell would come down the track and therefore, bowled a delivery down the leg-side to get him stumped.

With 4 wickets down for 106, it was important from Australia’s point of view to get a partnership going and also for their captain to stay out there at least till the 40th over. Unfortunately for them, neither of the two happened, as Hardik Pandya, in his comeback spell, got Steven Smith (59) out in the deep with the help of a short ball. At this point, India had won half the battle. A couple of overs later, they moved three steps closer to victory, as Kuldeep Yadav picked up a hat-trick to sent Wade, Agar and Cummins back in the pavilion. He became only the third Indian bowler (first spinner) to register a hat-trick in ODIs.

Kuldeep’s hat-trick jolted the Australians and it was only a matter of time before they were bowled out. But the world champions weren’t just going to throw in the towel and let the Indians run away with the win. It was Marcus Stoinis, who fought like a lone warrior and played a fine knock of 62* to keep the Indians at bay for a while. It was only because of Stoinis that Australia managed to get past 200. His solitary effort, however, wasn't going to be enough to get his team over the line. In the end, Bhuvneshwar Kumar wrapped up the Australian innings, on the score of 202, by picking up the last wicket of Kane Richardson.

Although there were a couple of splendid bowling performances, the Man of Match award was given to Virat Kohli for his superb knock of 92.

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