Having denied Australia a victory at the Gabba, India travelled to Adelaide with confidence for the second Test match of the Border-Gavaskar series.
A Sunday morning at the Oval. Bright sunshine and clear skies were on the menu as the World Cup favourites India and Australia faced off.
India won the toss and elected to bat first as both sides remained unchanged from victories against South Africa and West Indies respectively.
In the second over, Mitchell Starc provided a rubbish ball outside leg, leading to Rohit Sharma flicking it to the leg side. Nathan Coulter-Nile attempted to take a one-handed screamer, but the half-chance wasn’t taken.
How costly could that be for the Aussies? After being watchful against the duo of Starc and Pat Cummins, Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan cut loose against the other Aussie bowlers.
Both batsmen reached 50 and put on a 127 run opening stand before Coulter-Nile had Sharma caught behind for 57. With the big fish Virat Kohli coming it at number three, things weren’t going to get easier for Australia.
While Kohli took his time to get his eye in, Dhawan was showing no mercy. The left-handed opener attacked the Australian bowlers en route to a 95-ball hundred. Dhawan was taking the game away from Australia before he holed out to square leg for 117.
With India 2-220 after 37 overs, all-rounder Hardik Pandya was promoted to number four. The plan nearly backfired as Alex Carey dropped Pandya first ball. Pandya tore apart the Australian seamers and spinners until he holed out for a 27 ball 48.
MS Dhoni (27 off 14) came in and showed he could fire from ball one while Kohli (82 off 77) was nudging the ball around with the odd boundary.
Despite Marcus Stoinis taking two wickets in the final over, India smashed 116 runs in the last ten overs, propelling their score to 5-352. With the pitch starting to turn and India having two quality wrist-spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, it would be a tough run chase for Australia.
In the second over, David Warner chopped one to the stumps, only for luck to be in his favour as the bails didn’t come off. India’s new-ball pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah gave nothing to the Aussie openers as Australia fell behind the 8-ball from the beginning.
With the required run rate climbing, skipper Aaron Finch (36 off 35) was run out in the 14th over. Warner was surprisingly very conservative in his approach and despite scoring 56, he was dismissed in his 84th delivery as Australia were 2-133 in the 25th over.
Usman Khawaja (42 off 39) and Steve Smith (69 off 70) struggled to get going together until the 32nd over. The pair started to get a groove and keep Australia in the game before both batsmen were dismissed between the 37th to 40th over. A quickfire 28 from Glenn Maxwell and a half-century from Alex Carey (55 off 35) ensured that Australia passed 300, but the Aussies were bowled out for 316 in the 50th over.
India had won and won comprehensively by 36 runs.
It was a clinical performance by India in all facets of the game. This game prompted questions on whether this Australian team was too one-dimensional. Maybe Glenn Maxwell could’ve come in at number four to counter India’s spinners in the middle overs and not let the required run rate get out of hand within 30 overs.
While India would face the undefeated New Zealand in Nottingham, Australia would travel to Taunton to face the unpredictable Pakistan in three days.
India 5-352 (Shikhar Dhawan 117, Virat Kohli 82, Marcus Stoinis 2-62, Pat Cummins 1-55) beat Australia 316 all out (Steve Smith 69, David Warner 56, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-50, Jasprit Bumrah 3-61).