Australia’s fringe candidates are failing to fire as the post-World Cup hangover has continued with a 44-run loss to India in the second Twenty20 at Thiruvananthapuram.
A ragged bowling display allowed India to plunder a mammoth 4-235 on Sunday (Monday AEDT) before Australia replied with 9-191 to go 2-0 down in the five-match series, one week to the day after lifting the 50-over World Cup.
Nathan Ellis was the best of the bowlers with 3-45 from his four overs but Sean Abbott was taken down for 56 runs from his three wicketless overs and Glenn Maxwell also copped plenty of tap, going for 38 from just two overs.
With strike trio Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood resting from this series, along with Mitchell Marsh, David Warner and Cameron Green, it’s a chance for the fringe candidates in the Australian set-up to make a name for themselves before the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and US next June.
After this five-match series, the Aussies only play six more T20s before the squad is selected for the mission to win the third major ICC trophy to become the first nation to complete the set.
Matt Short went cheaply at opener for the second match in a row while Steve Smith, no guarantee to be in the World Cup squad, also made just 19.
ODI World Cup match-winning opener Travis Head is yet to play in this T20 series but is likely to make his first appearance in game three.
Cameos from Marcus Stoinis (45), captain Matthew Wade (42 not out) and Tim David (37) saw Australia, noticeably fatiguing with half the team having been in India for the best part of two months due to the World Cup, avoid a bigger humiliation.
“There was a sweet spot in the first six or seven overs when we thought we could make some inroads but we just weren’t able to,” Australia coach Andre Borovec said.
“The plans and intent are there but when you miss in these conditions, it doesn’t have to be by an awful lot.
“We’re making the right decisions but we’re failing to execute at the critical moments.”
Sent in to bat, Ruturaj Gaikwad (58), Yashasvi Jaiswal (53), Ishan Khan (52) and Rinku Singh (31no off nine balls) helped India to their highest total in T20s against Australia. It surpassed their previous best 8-209 set three days ago at Visakhapatnam and was easily the best score at Greenfield International Stadium.
Jaiswal was the early aggressor, dominating India’s 1-77 powerplay, which was their best in T20s against Australia.
The 21-year-old opener welcomed Sean Abbott to the bowling crease by going 4-4-4-6-6 to bring up his half-century inside the fourth over.
Australia bowled poorly with the new ball before regularly losing control as the dew set in, dishing up 12 wides and a no-ball, via a chest-high full-toss from Maxwell.
Australia’s reply started poorly when Short (19) was bowled by his legspinning nemesis Ravi Bishnoi for the second time in five deliveries this tour.
Game one centurion Josh Inglis (2) fell to a wonderful catch from Tilak Varma, before Jaiswal snared successive smart catches to dismiss Maxwell (12) and Smith (19) to have Australia reeling at 4-58 in the eighth over.
Stoinis and David gave Australia some hope but the end of their 81-run fifth-wicket stand triggered a 5-16 collapse before Wade limited some of the damage, swinging hard to the finish.
Bishnoi (3-32) and seamer Prasidh Krishna (3-41) were India’s best bowlers. Game three is at Guwahati on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning AEDT).