ADELAIDE, Australia – India beat Australia by six wickets in the second One Day International cricket match on Tuesday, leveling the three-match series 1-1.
Chasing 299, India achieved the target with four balls to spare, propelled by a century by captain Virat Kohli and a half-century by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had been criticized for his slow scoring rate in the first match in Sydney.
“Tonight was an MS (Dhoni) classic. He takes the game till the end, when only he knows what’s going on in his mind, and he backs himself to hit those big shots at the end,” said Kohli, who was awarded player of the match.
Batting first, Australia once again lost their top order cheaply, leaving Shaun Marsh to steady the innings with valuable contributions from other middle order batsmen.
Marsh’s 131 – his fourth century in the last eight innings – and his aggressive 94-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Glenn Maxwell (48 in 37 balls) took Australia to a competitive total of 298/9.
Australian captain Aaron Finch was all praise for Shaun Marsh, although his brilliant century went in vain, and said his team should have played better in the middle overs.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the Indian bowlers, taking 4/45 in his 10 overs and restricting Australia’s scoring in the death overs, while Mohammed Shami took three wickets.
Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma got India off to a brisk start but departed while looking to play the big shots.
Rayudu tried to steady the ship but could not convert his start to a bigger innings, leaving Kohli and Dhoni in charge of taking the team home.
The prolific Indian captain made 104 before being dismissed in the 44th over, with the home team looking favorites to seal the series in their favor.
However, an industrious 25 off 14 balls by Dinesh Karthik and nerveless power hitting by Dhoni in the end helped India keep the series alive.
The third and final ODI will be played in Melbourne on Friday, concluding a historic tour for India, who registered their first-ever test series victory down under.