Match report: Aus v Ind – 2nd T20I
Melbourne, Feb 3: An inspired Indian unit have won the second T20 International played against Australia here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. After restricting the hosts to a sub-par total of 131, Gautam Gambhir struck an unbeaten half-century (56*) to help the visitors register their first win of the tour and square the two-match T20I series 1-1.
Australia made three changes to their side ahead of the game; Travis Birt, Dan Christian and James Faulkner were replaced by Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and Clint McKay in the side that played a few days ago in Sydney. India, meanwhile, fielded an unchanged squad.
It wasn’t the best of starts for the hosts as Praveen Kumar removed David Warner (8) and Shaun Marsh (0) in the space of four deliveries in the third over. Aaron Finch, opening the innings instead of Matthew Wade, played a feisty 23-ball 36 but a quick piece of fielding from Ravindra Jadeja had the Australian run-out with the innings score at 49. Five runs later, George Bailey (3) too was run-out, his wicket leaving the Australians in disarray at 54 for four.
A 39-run partnership between David Hussey and Matthew Wade looked to put the Australian innings back on track, but when Hussey (24) offered a simple return catch to Ravindra Jadeja off the latter’s bowling, the visitors were well and truly on top.
Mitchell Marsh (13) was stumped by MS Dhoni off Rahul Sharma, while Wade (32) was the victim of yet another run-out as Australia slumped to 121 for seven in 18.2 overs. The hosts managed only another ten runs with their last three wickets. Brad Hogg (4) was trapped lbw by Rahul Sharma while Xavier Doherty (1) was the fourth Australian batsman to be run-out in the innings.
Chasing 132 to win, India started off cautiously scoring 29 runs off the first five overs. However, with the introduction of left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty in the sixth over, Virender Sehwag switched gears and smashed Doherty for a huge six over long-on. The Indian opener, though, perished soon after as he played a full-toss delivery from Brad Hogg straight to Shaun Marsh at extra cover. Sehwag made 23.
With Virat Kohli giving him company, Gautam Gambhir played sensibly, regularly unleashing his trademark lofted inside-out shot on the off-side against the spinners. The pair added 54 for the second wicket before Kohli (31) edged a delivery from Mitchell Marsh to wicketkeeper Wade.
With India needing only 35 runs off the last 38 deliveries, Gambhir helped himself to his seventh T20I half-century. India won the match comfortably, despite playing out some dot balls towards the end, with captain MS Dhoni remaining unbeaten on 21* and Gambhir unbeaten on 56 with two balls to spare in the innings.
Brief scores: India 135/2 in 19.4 overs (Gautam Gambhir 56*, Virat Kohli 31, Brad Hogg 1/19) beat Australia 131 all out in 19.4 overs (Aaron Finch 36, Matthew Wade 32, Praveen Kumar 2/21, Rahul Sharma 2/29) by eight wickets
Man-of-the-match: Ravindra Jadeja for effecting two of the four run-outs in the Australian innings and economical bowling figures of 3-0-16-1