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India vs Australia 2020 ODI series: Turning point of the second ODI

Shweta Haranhalli
·4-min read

Australia celebrate after picking up a wicket.
Australia celebrate after picking up a wicket.

The stage was set for a classic face-off between two of the world's most dominant teams: Australia and India. After a hammering in the first One Day International at the Sydney Cricket Ground, India stepped on to the field eyeing redemption.

However, a commanding batting performance from the home team helped them register their second win of the series by 51 runs. In the process, Australia took an unaccessible 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series.

On that note, let us have a look at where the match turned away from India's grasp.

Steve Smith's second century of the series sets the tone for Australia's mammoth total

Steve Smith celebrates his hundred against India.
Steve Smith celebrates his hundred against India.

The iconic SCG is known to be a batting paradise, especially in recent times. So, it was a fairly easy decision for Aaron Finch to bat first after winning the toss for Australia.

Opening the batting along with David Warner, the duo started Australia's innings on a steady note by accumulating the ones and twos. With no swing on offer, India's bowlers struggled to bowl a consistent line and length and leaked away too many runs in the first few overs.

The left-hander was the more aggressive of the two, as he utilised the field restrictions to his advantage and helped the home team score 59 runs in the powerplay. With India entering this game with only five genuine bowlers, Warner was particularly aggressive on Navdeep Saini, smashing him all around the park.

The duo added 142 runs for the opening wicket before Finch was caught by Virat Kohli off a leading edge. Despite losing the wicket of the skipper, Warner, joined in the middle by Steve Smith, continued to time the ball to perfection and looked set for a big innings.

With nothing on offer in the surface for the bowlers and two of Australia's best players out in the middle, India needed some magic in the field to bounce back into the contest.

The third ball of the 26th over provided the spark that was needed, as Shreyas Iyer, coming off the long-off boundary, managed to pick up the ball one-handed and threw down the stumps at the bowling end to catch Warner inches short of the crease.

Warner's wicket, however, did not deter Smith at the other end, who continued his fine form against India by scoring yet another ODI hundred off 62 balls, doing so with the help of 14 boundaries and two big hits over the fence.

Smith's innings showcased the class and calibre of arguably one of the greatest players in the modern era. With lofted hits over the cover region and some mighty pull shots, Smith provided an absolute masterclass on how to manoeuvre the field and yield maximum dividends.

Along with the top three batsmen, Australia's middle order comprising of Marnus Labuschagne and Glenn Maxwell too joined the party and scored well-compiled half-centuries to help the home team post a massive total of 389 runs for the loss of four wickets.

It marked only the second time in ODI history that the top five batsmen in a team registered fifty-plus scores in the same game.

Regular wickets hurt India's run chase

Virat Kohli in action for the Indian team
Virat Kohli in action for the Indian team

Chasing 390 runs under the lights to draw level in the series was never going to be an easy task for the young Indian side. Despite a brisk start from the opening combination of Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan, wickets at regular intervals meant that the visiting side were 153 runs for the loss of three wickets.

Virat Kohli and KL Rahul were out in the middle now, with the onus of taking the side through resting on the shoulders of the captain and the vice-captain of the side.

With 26 hundreds while chasing, Virat Kohli is known to be a chase master in the white-ball format of the game. The skipper is known to play the pivotal role of anchoring the innings in the first half of run chases before shifting gears at the back end.

Along with Rahul, the right-handed batter steadied the ship by accumulating the singles and punishing the odd poor deliveries. Kohli scored a well-compiled half-century to take India close to an improbable win.

The duo forged a crucial 72-run partnership for the fourth wicket before Kohli was undone by a piece of brilliance in the field by Moises Henriques. In the fifth delivery of the 35th over, Kohli tried to pull the short-of-length ball from Josh Hazlewood but only found Henriques flying to his left to take a blinder.

Virat Kohli's wicket in the middle overs, with 165 runs still left to score, dented the visiting side's ambitions and was the turning point in the game.

Despite a brilliant half-century from Rahul (76), who produced a 63-run stand for the fifth wicket with Hardik Pandya, India eventually fell short by 51 runs in another tall run chase to lose the series.