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Kuldeep hat-trick, Bhuvneshwar strikes give India 2-0 lead

Wisden India logo Wisden India 21-09-2017

Steven Smith had clearly stated how he wanted to celebrate his 100th One-Day International. He wanted to score runs and see Australia win. He did score runs, but he just couldn’t take his side over the line against India in the second ODI in Kolkata, as the home side proved their dominance once again with a 50-run win to go 2-0 up in the five-match series.

Full scorecard

After restricting India to a modest 252, Australia lost their way with Smith waging a lone battle that was never going to be enough to win them the match. The Australian captain scored a gritty 59 off 79 deliveries, but a clinical spell from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah early on, and crippling strikes from Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal afterwards, ended the visiting side’s hopes of levelling the series. Kuldeep even returned a hat-trick in the latter part of the chase, becoming only the third Indian to achieve the feat in ODIs, following in the footsteps of Chetan Sharma (v New Zealand in Nagpur, 1987) and Kapil Dev (v Sri Lanka in Kolkata, 1991).

Complete coverage: India vs Australia ODI Series

There was a prominent hint of swing in the first hour of the chase, and India benefitted from it through Bhuvneshwar. Hilton Cartwright, who made his debut in Chennai in the first ODI, was clueless through his 15-ball stay in the middle, scoring just one run before being bowled by Bhuvneshwar.

It would however be unfair to blame young Cartwright alone, as Bhuvneshwar’s disciplined effort even got the better of David Warner, who was beaten a couple of times by the swing before edging one to Ajinkya Rahane at second slip.

The scoreboard read 9 for 2 at that stage, and it was clear that the chase was not going to be a simple one. Smith and Travis Head got together to see off the new ball, and they went about their business with acute patience. There were hardly any risky shots in their third-wicket association of 76 off 73 balls, yet it helped diffuse the pressure and put Australia’s chase back on track.

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Head hit five boundaries in his run-a-ball knock of 39, before he succumbed to a soft dismissal, hitting a dipping full toss from Chahal straight to Manish Pandey at short midwicket.

Glenn Maxwell then joined Smith, and not surprisingly, his first two scoring shots happened to be a couple of well-connected sweeps over the square-leg fence. The crowd that was celebrating Head’s departure just a while ago turned dead quiet following Maxwell’s assault. But the batsman’s aggression led to his demise soon after. Maxwell charged down to hit Chahal for a big shot, but the bowler read his movement early, and deceived him with a flighted delivery that slipped between his legs before Dhoni completed a signature smart stumping.

With a line-up that boasted of batting talent right up till No. 11, Australia were still very much in the game, as Marcus Stoinis walked in to join Smith in the middle. The duo kept the scoreboard ticking till the 30th over, when the collapse ensued.

Smith was lured by the temptation of pulling a bouncer from Pandya over deep midwicket, but he failed to make good connection, ending up giving Ravindra Jadeja, the substitute fielder, a chance to lunge forward and catch it. Jadeja didn’t disappoint, and the crowd erupted as Smith started walking back in agony.

Watch: Kuldeep not easy to bat against, feels Aussie skipper Smith


The 33rd over put the writing on the wall when Kuldeep removed Matthew Wade (2), Ashton Agar (0) and Pat Cummins (0) for his hat-trick to send his teammates in a frenzy.

From then on, it was only a matter of time before the Australian pursuit reached a dead end. Stoinis and Coulter-Nile resisted for a bit, but their efforts were always going to go in vain. Stoinis finished unbeaten on 62 off 65 balls, having hit six boundaries and three sixes.

Earlier, after a lot of speculation over the possibilities of rain affecting the match, India batted under bright sunlight, barring a short interruption caused by a drizzle towards the end.

Virat Kohli led the charge with 92 off 107 balls, his knock studded with eight boundaries, but Australia made a very good comeback at the death to keep India’s score reasonable.

Australia got rid of Rohit Sharma early, when he tapped a catch back to Coulter-Nile in the sixth over.

Kohli arrived at the crease amidst massive cheers to join Rahane in the middle, and from there on, it was India who dictated terms.

Rahane looked in terrific touch, scoring 55 off 64 balls, with seven glorious hits to the fence. He looked set for a big one, but in an attempt to steal a tight second run in the 24th over, fell short by an inch and had to depart.

Pandey floundered yet another chance to make a mark, getting bowled by Agar, who had come into the side in place of Adam Zampa.

Kohli and Kedar Jadhav saw off the tricky phase with a busy fourth-wicket stand of 55 off 49 balls. Coulter-Nile broke the partnership by sending Jadhav back for a run-a-ball 24, and returned to castle Kohli to deny the Indian captain his 31st ODI century, one that would have taken him past Ricky Ponting with whom he’s currently tied on 30 ODI tons.

Dhoni also fell without troubling the scorers much, and suddenly, India went from 186 for 3 to 204 for 6.

With Pandya, the hero from the Chennai game, still in the middle with Bhuvneshwar, India still had hope. But the flurry of wickets hurt their progress, with the run-rate coming down drastically.

The duo struggled for runs, with even the explosive Pandya failing to find the fence regularly. There was a lot of drama in the last five overs, with Pandya getting struck on the side of his helmet by Bhuvneshwar’s shot at the non-striker’s end. He went down to the ground for a bit but was quickly back up before the drizzle arrived. Just before the rain came, Pandya was caught off a no-ball and had begun walking back, on which the Australians broke the stumps thinking there was a chance of a run-out off the no-ball. However, given that Pandya was under the misapprehension that he was out when he began walking off, the ball was rightly ruled dead once caught.

When the players came back on, India lost wickets in quick succession, and Pandya didn’t get enough strike till the last over. He succumbed to the pressure by holing out to Warner at long-off and the last pair of Chahal and Bumrah couldn’t do much except taking the home side past the 250-run mark before India were all out off the final ball.

In the end though, that proved enough to achieve victory in the contest, leaving Australia with a lot to ponder over on their way to Indore for the third encounter.

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