A brutal batting onslaught, led by hundreds from Shreyas Iyer (105) and Shubman Gill (104), powered India to an emphatic 99-run victory (DLS method) over Australia in the second ODI at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Sunday.
Suryakumar Yadav (72) and KL Rahul (52) added spark to the procession as India clinched the series and cemented its spot as the number one-ranked team ahead of the World Cup.
INDIA VS AUSTRALIA 2ND ODI | FULL SCORECARD
Forced into an uphill 400-run chase, Australia began on the wrong note, with incoming seamer Prasidh Krishna snapping up Matthew Short and Steven Smith off successive deliveries in the second over. A steady pouring curtailed the game to 33 overs, leaving the visitor with a stiff 317-run target.
R. Ashwin and David Warner brought some spice into a fading contest, with the Aussie southpaw briefly dashing the off-spinner with a right-handed guard. Ashwin turned to his variations and castled Marnus Labuschagne first with the carrom ball. The veteran reprised the delivery to Warner (53) and trapped him leg-before to become the highest wicket-taker in India vs Australia matches across formats, surpassing Anil Kumble.
Australia’s shaky lower-order flickered with Sean Abbott’s glittering 36-ball 54 before the visitor conceded a fifth match in succession.
The day belonged to India’s World Cup-bound batters, who put up a collective attack before the return of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya for the final match.
Despite Ruturaj Gaikwad’s (8) early blip, India made a hapless Aussie attack pay for opting to field on a flatbed. Smith, the stand-in captain, had limited choices to skim through as regular skipper Pat Cummins, Mitchell Marsh, and Marcus Stoinis moved to the bench.
Teaming up for a belligerent 200-run second-wicket partnership, Iyer cut loose against debutant left-armer Spencer Johnson and Josh Hazlewood, reeling in five fours from 15 deliveries. Initially wound up by tight lines, Gill joined in as he worked his tensile wrists to disrupt the on-side fence.
A 30-minute rain stoppage did nothing to stop the duo as they opened the floodgates, forcing Smith to gesture animatedly to position his deep mid-wicket and long-off fielders. India effectively racked up 80 in the first PowerPlay, its joint-best against Australia.
Adam Zampa, the sole lead spinner, was taken apart by the right-handed pair as he erred by bowling short. Iyer cruised to his half-century with a flat-batted six down the ground off a free-hit from Johnson. Gill followed suit in 37 deliveries with a maximum.
The batters briefly dropped momentum while heading into the nineties. However, Iyer tossed the woes of a frustrating injury-ridden year by driving Zampa to long-on for his third ODI ton. Battling cramps on his wrists, Iyer failed to extend his stay, holing out to the deep mid-wicket fielder off a feeble hook shot.
Meanwhile, Gill watchfully etched his fifth ODI hundred of the year and second at the venue in as many games, off 95 balls, before skying a length ball from Cameron Green to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
The show was only half done as skipper Rahul, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar lit up the second half by collecting 22 boundaries. While Rahul smoked three maximums over the leg-side, acing an upright stance in the crease, Suryakumar rode a wave of confidence from the fifty in the previous match to unfurl his trademark range.
The Mumbai maverick blasted Green for four consecutive sixes in the 44th over; the ball soared over the long-leg, deep fine-leg, extra-cover and mid-wicket in succession as he crouched and stretched with ease.
Motoring past a 24-ball fifty, the fastest by an Indian versus Australia, Suryakumar registered his highest ODI score with typical charisma. So did India, with its biggest ODI total (399 for five) against Australia springing at a venue where it has yet to put a foot wrong across seven games.
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