Kuldeep treble sinks the Kangaroos

Chasing 253 for a win, the Steve Smith-led side faltered in the middle overs to lose the second ODI by 50 runs.

Kuldeep celebrates his hat-trick   -  AFP

Collapse is the word of the day. The Indian middle-order didn’t live up to its standard when they batted. True. But the Australian batsmen were like a sand castle in the face of a huge wave. No, not Mexican, which is the usual Eden Gardens trait.

This tornado has its origins in Uttar Pradesh and is known by the name of Kuldeep Yadav. The 22-year-old claimed a lethal hat-trick to get India home in the second ODI here on Thursday.

Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Chasing 253 for a win, the Steve Smith-led side faltered in the middle overs to lose the rubber by 50 runs. Australia was wrapped up for 202 in 43.1 overs.

Early breakthrough

India’s bowling mainstay Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/9) removed the Australian openers upfront.

Hilton Cartwright (1 off 15 balls) looked frustrated after a string of dot balls when he misjudged a good length delivery, which disturbed his stumps. He wasn’t sure about the movement of the ball but he still had a go at it and paid the price.

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The dangerous David Warner, flaunting IPL experience in his resume, was the next to go (caught by Ajinkya Rahane at second slip). Warner's Sunrisers Hyderabad team-mate Bhuvneshwar Kumar, aware of his whereabouts across the 22 yards, did him in. The southpaw scored 1 off 9 deliveries.

The two quick wickets within the first five overs forced the Australian skipper Steve Smith — playing his 100th game — to step up and anchor the innings. With Travis Head on the other end, the 28-year-old followed a set plan — over by over, bowler by bowler and fielder to fielder. The right and left-hand combination unsettled the Indian bowlers for a brief period but never caused any panic.

Head-Smith partnership

Head and Smith kept stealing boundaries at regular intervals before a waist-high full toss invited the left-hander to go for a swing. But he didn’t do that. Head flicked it to Manish Pandey at midwicket and threw his wicket for a run-a-ball 39, which included five fours. They added 76 runs for the third wicket.

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Smith kept the scoreboard ticking and tried to form a partnership with Glenn Maxwell, who smashed two huge sixes off Kuldeep in an over. But his stay at the wicket was cut-short by Yuzvendra Chahal, who — on watching him charge down the pitch — tossed the ball towards middle and leg, which M.S. Dhoni collected with vigour and broke the stumps like a superman. He departed for 14.

Smith’s resistance was broken by Hardik Pandya, who picked up two wickets in the game, after a sluggish start. Ravindra Jadeja ran in to pluck the offering at deep square leg, dismissing Smith for a well-played 59 off 76 balls (eight fours).

Kuldeep tornado

All hell broke loose when Kuldeep dismissed Matthew Wade (bowled for 2), Ashton Agar (leg-before for a duck) and Pat Cummins (caught by Dhoni) for a nought too. He is the third Indian bowler, after Kapil Dev and Chetan Sharma, to take a hat-trick in ODIs.

The score read 148/8 and Marcus Stoinis fought a lone battle for sometime, but he left it too late. He remained unbeaten on 62 off 65 balls, which included six fours and three sixes. 

Kohli-Rahane magic

Earlier, India won the toss and elected to bat.  The Indians had a 'sunny' start to its innings. Considering the constant rain threat over the last two days, the players weren’t prepared for the humid conditions, but Rahane, who opened the batting with Rohit Sharma, turned the heat on to the Aussies.

The right-handed batsman used his willow like a paint brush, stroking the ball everywhere in the park.  But Coulter-Nile caught Sharma (7) off his own bowling in the sixth over, which didn’t cause any worry as Rahane formed a formidable 102-run stand for the second wicket with skipper Virat Kohli.

He looked set on 55, when a split-second delay in running for a second cost him his wicket. Hilton Cartwright took advantage of his time lapse. The flat throw was smartly collected by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who dislodged the bails. But thanks to his stylish strokeplay, which included seven fours, India touched the 100-run mark in 19.5 overs. 

Later, Kohli tried to accelerate in the middle overs, but kept losing partners. The skipper dominated the Australian seamers. He drove, flicked and sliced with ease.  He couldn’t reach his century and was rattled by Coulter-Nile, in this third spell, for 92 off 107 balls, which included eight fours.

Following his dismissal, the scoreboard read 197/5 in 37.5 overs. The remaining half could manage only 55 runs in 73 balls. The Indian middle-order, with Pandey (3), Kedar Jadhav (24) and Dhoni (5), fell flat.

Pandey failed to read a straight one from Agar and was bowled. Jadhav gifted a catch to Maxwell at backward point, while Dhoni was caught by Smith off Cummins’ bowling.

Pandya no-ball confusion

Pandya, the Chennai hero, could only manage 20 off 26 balls. The hard-hitter of the ball was almost gone in the 48th over. He was caught off a high full toss but Smith, who caught the ball, instructed Kane Richardson to break the stumps, when he realised it could be a no-ball.

Rain soon stopped play. On returning to action after an 18-minute stoppage, Pandya was ruled not out though he had walked out believing he was dismissed.

Notable changes

Australia had made two changes in the game, which worked in its favour. Richardson – who replaced James Faulkner – returned with figures of 3/55. Agar (in place of Adam Zampa) bowled a good length and got the important wicket of Pandey, who could have been dangerous down the order.

But Coulter-Nile remained the star bowler for Australia (3/51). Coincidentally, the Kangaroos had done a bit of homework against the local chinaman bowlers here ahead of the rubber. Now, when Smith & co. switch on their maps to navigate to Indore, they have a job at hand — scan Kuldeep’s videos.

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