Sudeshna Guha Roy/Zeecric Bureau
Visakhapatnam: Virat Kohli’s glorious ton and Suresh Raina and Saurabh Tiwary’s heroics in the final overs helped India maintain a perfect record at Vizag and clinch the second ODI against Australia by five wickets here at the Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
The victory raised India to the second position in ICC ODI rankings.
After winning the toss, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni offered the Australians to set the target. A century knock by Michael Clarke and half tons by Michael Hussey and Cameron White helped Australia post 289/3.
India came down to the field with a mammoth target of 290 runs and an all-new opening duo of IPL-star Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay, hoping of a strong opening partnership. However, all hopes went down the drain as Clint McKay struck twice to first dismiss Dhawan in the first over, and then Vijay in the ninth.
Dhawan’s debut turned into a nightmare as he gave up his wicket in the second ball of the innings itself. McKay bowled him out for a duck, leaving India at 0/1. It was since then that Kohli jumped into action held fort for almost the entire innings.
Later, McKay struck again as got Vijay caught by Tim Paine for mere 15 runs, which left India at 35/2.
The dismissals did give some leave India a bit worried, but Kohli made sure to give India the much needed stability. He, along with Yuvraj Singh, immediately jumped into damage-control to steadily take their team past 150. In the process, Yuvraj slammed his 44th ODI half ton.
The duo was going quite strong and built a strong 137-run partnership when McKay played the spoilsport once again and dismissed Yuvraj for 58 runs.
Thereafter, what the Vizag crowd saw was aggression personified as Kohli fought his cramps and even played with substitute runner to claim his third ODI century in style.
Later, it was John Hastings who managed to dismiss Kohli by getting his caught by James Hopes at the long on, but the damage had already been done by then, as his 118 run knock left India just 34 runs short of victory.
Kohli’s dismissal shifted focus to Dhoni, who was expected to complete the formalities, but instead ended up giving his wicket for a duck to Hastings.
On the contrary it were Suresh Raina and Saurabh Tiwary who later covered the 34-run gap. Raina, with his expertise to perform best under pressure, slammed his 16th ODI half-ton, but it was Tiwary who hit two consecutive boundaries in the second last over to help India reach their target with a comfortable cushion of 7 balls.
Kohli’s heroics earned the Man of the Match award.
After being asked to bat first, the visitors’ campaign did not start on a good note as they lost the wickets of Shaun Marsh and Tim Paine quite early in the game.
Ashish Nehra provided India with an early breakthrough as he sent back Marsh for a duck. Nehra cleaned up Marsh with a beautiful delivery to reduce Australia to 11/1.
Moments after claiming his first victim, Nehra struck another crucial blow as he removed Paine for 9. Paine was caught by Vinay Kumar at mid-on.
The double-wicket loss did not damage the Australian psychic as Hussey and Clarke played a super-solid innings to easily take their team past the 150 run mark. Hussey claimed his 32nd ODI fifty in the process.
The Australian run-fest was halted for a while as R Ashwin broke the crucial Clarke-Hussey partnership. He caught Hussey plumb in front of the wickets to depart him for 69 runs, and innings that came with the help of 7 boundaries. Together the duo built a strong innings of 144 runs that gave Australia the much needed stability.
Hussey’s departure left Australia at 160/3, but that gave Clarke no reason to rest. He, along with White, added another 129 runs to the team’s score card. Clarke went on to claim his 5th ODI ton is style as White followed behind with 11th ODI half-century.
The duo showered the Vizag ground with sky-high sixes and extravagant boundaries in the final overs, as the last five overs alone produced 84 runs. The final over saw three sixes and a boundary coming out of White’s bat as Australian innings ended at 289/3.
While Clarke remained unbeaten at 111 (seven boundaries and a six), White was a treat to watch for everyone as his unbeaten score of 89 came from just 49 balls with the help of six boundaries and six sixes.