Rajkot: Steve Smith hit a swashbuckling 98 but Australia could not stop India powering to a 36 run victory to level their one-day series on Friday.
Thrashed by 10 wickets in the first of the three-match series, Shikhar Dhawan made 96, KL Rahul 80 and captain Virat Kohli 78 as India made 340 for six in their 50 overs and Australia soon fell behind in the run chase.
India completely turned the tables on Australian captain Aaron Finch, who won the toss and put India in to bat - proving to be a totally different proposition to the side that was never in the Mumbai contest while Finch’s bowlers struggled.
Despite Smith’s 102-ball innings with a six and nine fours and Marnus Labuschagne’s battling 46, Mohammed Shami came close to a hat-trick as India’s pace attack took control and Australia were bowled out for 304 with five balls of the innings left.
Shami bowled Ashton Turner and Pat Cummins with successive yorkers and had an appeal for the third wicket turned down on review. He finished with three for 77.
“It was good to see that we came back so strongly,” said Dhawan. “We had a good discussion, we knew we had to target specific bowlers and we showed more intent. Once we were set, we put the pressure on them.”
Dhawan scored his third straight fifty with a sublime 96 from 90 balls, his innings laced with 13 fours and a six as skipper Kohli smashed a 76-ball 78 (6x4). But it was Rahul, batting at No.5 as the regular keeper in place of Rishabh Pant, who gave India the much-needed push in the last 10 overs with his aggressive batting and range of shots. Rahul was run out in the final over for 80 off just 52 balls, his quickfire knock studded with six fours and three sixes.
For the Aussies, leg-spinner Adam Zampa was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/50.
Put in to bat first by Aussie captain Aaron Finch, India got off to a steady start with Rohit and Dhawan looking in control of proceedings on a flat deck which later proved to be a batting paradise.
The pair added 81 runs for the opening wicket in 14 overs with Dhawan looking in sublime touch and Rohit also finding the middle of the bat. Zampa broke the stand as he trapped Rohit in front. Rohit missed a sweep but felt the ball was missing the leg stump and went for a review only to be proven wrong.
But it did not dent India’s surge as Kohli walked in - back at his usual No. 3 position after dropping a rung in the first ODI - to join hands with Dhawan for a century-run partnership in which Dhawan score 61 runs.
The Delhi southpaw looked good to score a hundred but against the run of play, holed out to Mithcell Starc at fine leg off Kane Richardson in the 29th over.
It was, nonetheless, an innings to cherish as Dhawan continued his love affair with Australia by driving, cutting and sweeping to perfection. Dhawan brought up the 100-run stand with Kohli with a delectable straight drive over Richardson’s head just before getting out.
Just after the Dhawan show, Kohli took over in his peerless fashion. The ace batsman played some exquiste shots and kept the scoreboard ticking with some excellent running to propel India to 249/3 in 40 overs.
The series, a key preparation for both sides ahead of this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, will now be decided in Bangalore on Sunday.
R. Sharma lbw b Zampa 42
S. Dhawan c Starc b Richardson 96
V. Kohli c Starc b Zampa 78
S. Iyer b Zampa 7
K.L. Rahul run out 80
M. Pandey c Agar b Richardson 2
R. Jadeja not out 20
M. Shami not out 1
Extras (b5, lb4, w5) 14
Total (six wickets - 50 overs) 340
Did not bat: K. Yadav, N. Saini, J. Bumrah
Fall of wickets: 1-81 (Sharma, 13.3 overs), 2-184 (Dhawan, 28.4), 3-198 (Iyer, 32.4), 4-276 (Kohli, 43.1), 5-280 (Pandey, 44.1), 6-338 (Rahul, 49.4)
Bowling: Cummins 10 1 53 0, Starc 10 0 78 0, Richardson 10 0 73 2, Zampa 10 0 50 3, Agar 8 0 63 0, Labuschagne 2 0 14 0
D. Warner c Pandey b Shami 15
A. Finch st Rahul b Jadeja 33
S. Smith b Yadav 98
M. Labuschagne c Shami b Jadeja 46
A. Carey c Kohli b Yadav 18
A. Turner b Shami 13
A. Agar lbw b Saini 25
P. Cummins b Shami 0
M. Starc c Rahul b Saini 6
K. Richardson not out 24
A. Zampa c Rahul b Bumrah 6
Extras (lb 10, w 10) 20
Total (49.1 overs - all out) 304
Fall of wickets: 1-20 (Warner, 3.2 ov), 2-82 (Finch, 15.1), 3-178 (Labuschagne 30.5), 4-220 (Carey 37.2), 5-221 (Smith, 37.5), 6-259 (Turner 43.1 ov), 7-259 (Cummins 43.2), 8-274 (Agar, 46.1), 9-275 (Starc, 46.3)
Bowling: Bumrah 9.1 2 32 1, Shami 10 0 77 3, Saini 10 0 62 2, Jadeja 10 0 58 2, Yadav 10 0 65 2
Australia won the toss and put India in to bat
India win by 36 runs
Three match series level 1-1
Umpires: Richard Kettleborough (ENG), Virender Sharma (IND)
TV umpire: Michael Gough (ENG)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)