Captain Kohli's 40th ODI ton proves to be key as India edge Australia in the 2nd ODI at Nagpur
India bowled and fielded spectacularly to defend 250 after Virat Kohli's 40th hundred to beat Australia in the second ODI in Nagpur by 8 runs on Tuesday. The Men in Blue now lead the 5-match ODI series 2-0. Earlier in the day, Virat Kohli waged a lone battle to haul India to 250 after Rohit Sharma fell for a duck in the first over. Shikhar Dhawan could not capitalise on a start while Ambati Rayudu fell cheaply again. Vijay Shankar, sent up the order at No.5, walked out and batted beautifully to add 81 for the fourth wicket with Virat Kohli. He was fluent and classy and only a freak dismissal meant he had to walk back for 46 off 41 balls.
Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni, heroes of India's win in Hyderabad, fell to Adam Zampa off successive balls. Dhoni in fact was dismissed for a golden duck and India were suddenly in trouble at 171 for 6 with nearly 18 overs to bat. Ravindra Jadeja, however, batted with common sense and added 67 for the seventh wicket with Kohli.
The Indian captain was classy; he ran hard and pierced the gap for ten sweetly timed boundaries. Kohli did not hit a single six in his innings and the only aerial shot resulted in his dismissal in the 48th over. India would add only two more runs to the total but Kohli had ensured his bowlers had enough to defend. Virat also became the fastest to 9000 international runs as a captain.
Australia were chasing a tricky target on a trickier pitch. But Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja were solid after probing spells by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. The Australian openers grew in 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 in front for 37 in the 15th over of the innings. Exactly six balls later and without a run being added, Kedar Jadhav snared Khawaja as Australia slipped to 83 for 2. Shaun Marsh, who had a good ODI series against India, down under, was the next to go when he edged a Ravindra Jadeja delivery to MS Dhoni behind the wickets. Glenn Maxwell fell to scoreboard pressure.
Peter Handscomb, however, was up for it. Along with Marcus Stoinis, Handscomb stitched up a strong partnership before he was run out to a brilliant direct throw from Ravindra Jadeja against the run of play. Alex Carey and Stoinis added a quick 47 runs for the fifth wicket as Australia stayed in the hunt. But Kuldeep struck in his last over to remove Carey and peg Australia back.
Stoinis was joined by Nathan Coulter-Nile but he did not last long, falling to Jasprit Bumrah for a 4-ball 4 as the chase once again became a little too hot for Australia. It became more complicated when Bumrah struck again to remove the dangerous Pat Cummins; at that stage, Australia were 223 for 8, needing 28 off 26.
The onus was clearly on Stoinis to take Australia past the finish line. He was very watchful against Bumrah in his last over, taking just the one single off the last delivery but that meant Australia needed 20 off the last two overs. Shami did a fine job for the first five balls of the penultimate over but a lose final ball allowed Lyon to pick up a boundary.
It was over to Vijay Shankar with 11 runs needed off the final over. He had bowled just the one over in the innings earlier and was under immense pressure but struck with the first ball of the final over to remove Stoinis. Adam Zampa walked in to join Nathan Lyon but it was too much of an ask for the two spinners, as the former found himself being castled for just two runs. The 500th ODI victory for India was thus sealed.