NOVEMBER 23, 2018
Brief Scorecard: Match abandoned Australia 7 for 132 (McDermott 32*, Bhuvneshwar 2-20) v India
MELBOURNE – Australia’s batsmen were humbled by a disciplined Indian display in the field before persistent rain forced the abandonment of the second Twenty20I at a soggy MCG, leaving the hosts one up in the series with a final match still to play in Sydney on Sunday.
Following a day of heavy showers and high winds in Melbourne, the skies cleared enough for the match to commence on time, as Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya restricted the Australians after Virat Kohli sent the home side in to bat.
Only Ben McDermott, with an intelligent, unbeaten 32, was able to make much of an impression, before the return of the rain forced an early end to Austrlaia’s innings. From there, a series of showers washed over the ground, stopping often enough to have the target revised four times under DLS calculations. The match was finally called off at 9.57pm local time when a final burst of rain ruled out the latest possible restart of 10.02pm for a chase of 46 in five overs.
India nail their start
Much like the many thousands who were caught trying to get into the MCG all at once after a late clear in the day’s heavy rain ushered, against all the odds, an on-time start, Australia seemed not quite to be at their sharpest for the beginning of this match. They were, perhaps, unbalanced by the loss of the tall paceman Billy Stanlake due to a twisted ankle in the team’s warm-up, necessitating a late switch with Nathan Coulter-Nile. By contrast, India were very much on their collective toes, finding the right method in the field virtually from the moment Bhuvneshwar opened up.
His second ball, to Aaron Finch, was of ideally tempting line and length, with a hint of movement enough to find the outside edge into the gloves of Rishabh Pant. The wicket was greeted by two roars – that from spectators inside the ground, and another from the thousands still milling around the entrances outside. Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah in particular were immaculate in their early spells, as Australia’s innings steadily unravelled.
In Brisbane, Glenn Maxwell was able to work his way into an innings that would ultimately prove the difference on the night, as he took apart the left-arm spin of Krunal with the help of the Gabba’s shortish straight boundary. Krunal’s figures of 0 for 55 from four overs were the third-most expensive ever by an Indian in a T20I, and left Maxwell and Australia feeling confident of their ability to attack him in home conditions.
However, the slow, tacky nature of an MCG pitch that had been under cover for much of the past two days provided Krunal with some useful assistance in game two, and aided by the strong earlier work of the seamers, he was a far more challenging proposition. Figures of 1 for 26 were a major improvement, and in tandem with Kuldeep’s wristspin, ensured Australia were never able to reassert themselves. The centrepiece of all this was a brilliant delivery to confound none other than Maxwell – bowled with plenty of pace but gripping enough to square up the allrounder and take the off stump via edge and thigh.