Melbourne: Finally, India tasted victory in the ongoing series after an 8-wicket win against Australia in the second and final T20 international at the MCG on Friday.
Needing 132 to win and to avoid another humiliating whitewash, India reached the target with the loss of 2 wickets and 2 balls to spare in front of a 62,275-strong MCG crowd. The victory was more special as it ended India’s losing streak on foreign soil which stretches to 16 matches.
The timing of the win was significant as India could now go into the tri-series on a high as they were awaited by another strong contender Sri Lanka apart from Australia.
It all began with Gambhir, who took a catch to remove ‘Serial Switcher’, also a dangerous hitter, David Warner, and ends with him scoring the winning run. He drove off McKay to mid-on for four to seal the first win of the tour.
The foundation for the victory was laid by India’s fielders, who turned top-class overnight. A special credit to Ravindra Jadeja, who was phenomenal on the field with two run outs and a spell reading 3-0-16-1. He was later adjudged Man-of-the-Match.
Carrying on the momentum gained from the superior fielding performance, India started their chase in a dominating fashion. Both Indian openers, Gambhir and Sehwag, were selective while chosing their shots.
At one stage, it looked like India have sorted out the issue of throwing away wickets early. The persistence showed by the openers, Sehwag in particular, said it all. It was partly due to the moderate target.
A full toss from veteran Hogg claimed Sehwag's wicket. He drove it to extra cover only to find Shaun Marsh, who carried it safely to remove the dangerman. Sehwag left the field without causing much harm to the opponents as he scored 23 runs off 16 balls.
However, Gautam Gambhir cruised along to complete his calculated half-century. He remained unbeaten on 56 runs off 60 balls, which included four boundaries.
Earlier, Australian captain George Bailey won the toss and elected to bat in the second and final T20 International on Friday. They made three changes to their side with Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and Clint McKay coming in, replacing Travis Birt, Dan Christian and James Faulkner. In contrast, India went ahead with the ‘losing’ combination.
Apart from Aaron Finch and Matthew Wade, who scored 36 and 32 runs respectively, Australia had no big contributor with the bat. They all fell prey to Indian bowlers at regular intervals and eventually reduced to 131 all out with two balls to spare in the twenty over quota.
For Dhoni, everything worked in his favour on Friday. He used all his bowlers effectively. He was quick behind the wickets and did a fitting role as a batsman. It looked like Dhoni is back to his best.