Melbourne, Feb.3 (ANI): India roared back to form to square the Twenty20 international series and put Australia on notice for the looming one-dayers.
Presenting an exceptional fielding effort, inspired by the infusion of vibrant young players, India dismissed Australia for 131 at the MCG on Friday.
In response, India reached 2-135 to seal an eight-wicket win with two balls to spare. Gautam Gambhir's unbeaten 56 was the stand-out innings.
After Australia chose to bat first, David Warner departed in the fourth over after a hefty pull shot off Praveen Kumar that, on most other grounds, would have comfortably sailed over the square-leg boundary. As it dropped from a great height, sweeper Gambhir backpedalled and was composed enough to snare the catch.
Victorian Aaron Finch, continuing on from his dominant Big Bash League form, cracked five boundaries in the first five overs. The effectiveness of his orthodox strokes overshadowed the extension of Shaun Marsh's awful form from the Tests. The left-hander, included for all-rounder Christian, succumbed to his fifth duck from eight innings, edging the second ball he faced behind off the probing Praveen.
Since sparkling 99 not out in his Boxing Day fitness test in the BBL, Shaun Marsh has scored only 17 runs in eight innings against India.
David Hussey's unusually rusty start - India captain M.S. Dhoni's choking field placements prevented easy runs for him - was compounded by his involvement in two run-outs, both from the arm of Ravindra Jadeja. The first was a massive blow as the victim was not Hussey but Finch.
Hussey sought a single as he paddled a ball to the left of Jadeja at backward point. Neither he nor non-striker Finch accounted for the Indian being a left-armer, which was enough to catch Finch short for a 26-ball innings of 36.
Two overs later Hussey played the same shot to y the same fielder. Non-striker George Bailey wanted the run but Hussey refused. It triggered the run-out of the new Australian captain as he turned around and strained to reach safety.
A four and a six in the next two overs from Hussey eased pressure on his poor scoring rate, although it was little surprise when he departed in the 14th over by lobbing a return catch to Jadeja.
The least experienced player in the squad, Matthew Wade, was required to play the anchor role once his Victorian teammate departed. It intensified when the last recognised batsman, Mitch Marsh, fell in the 18th over to a lightning stumping from Dhoni.
At 6-121, with two overs left, Australia was desperate for a Wade-led flurry. That was thwarted not by India's bowling but, yet again, its fielding - and also Australia's jittery running. In arguably the best Indian fielding effort of the night - there was a lot of competition - Rohit Sharma struck the stumps from cover and Wade departed for 32.
The quickfire departures of Clint Mckay (0), Brad Hogg (4) and Xavier Doherty (1) - the latter from the fourth run-out of the innings - meant Australia lost its last five wickets for 12 runs from just 15 deliveries, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
India's opening stand was of 42 before Virender Sehwag holed out for 23.
Virat Kohli scored 31 before being caught behind of the bowling of Mitch Marsh.
Indian skipper sored an unbeaten 21 to ensure a win for the first time on the tour Down Under. (ANI)
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