India went into the 2nd ODI against Australia in Rajkot desperate for a win to stay alive in the 3-match series after a thumping 10-wicket loss in the 1st ODI.
Australia won the toss and yet again put India in to bat. The Men in Blue showed intent right from the start, with both openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma not shying away from the big shots.
India raced to 55 for no loss in 10 overs and kept the run rate continuously healthy. Rohit’s innings was brought to an end by Adam Zampa - the batsman becoming the quickest to 7000 ODI runs by an opener en route his 42 off 44 balls.
Dhawan at the other end showed his talent and class as he headed towards a century. Batting with a rib injury, Dhawan put on a masterclass in batting, marching to 96 off 90 balls before Kane Richardson brought his innings to an end.
Shreyas Iyer was promoted up the order, ahead of KL Rahul, but failed to make much of an impact. And when he fell for 7 off 17 balls, India were a little worried at 198/3 in the 33rd over.
That’s when Virat Kohli and KL Rahul took charge.
Kohli’s innings began at a run a ball and he kept the momentum up even after the loss of Dhawan and Iyer. The skipper’s innings of 78 off 76 balls was brought to an end by Zampa, leaving India at 276/4 in the 44th over.
By then Rahul had taken firm control of the match and was dominating proceedings. He showed no mercy to the Aussie bowling attack and none of them were able to counter his onslaught. He eventually made a 52-ball 80 before being run out - the first time since 2013 that an Indian batting at No. 5 or lower had scored a fifty at a strike rate of over 150 when setting a target. MS Dhoni was the last to achieve this feat.
India’s innings ended at 340/6 with Zampa (3/50) being the pick of the Australian bowling.
India had Australia on the mat almost immediately - Manish Pandey taking a sensational catch to dismiss danger man David Warner (15 off 12 balls) in the fourth over.
Aaron Finch found that he couldn’t dominate the Indian bowlers like he has in the first match. His innings of 33 off 48 balls brought to an end by a stumping by Rahul off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.
Steve Smith at the other end however showed just why you can never take the foot off the pedal when it comes to Australia with a magnificent 98 off 102 balls - the second batsmen in the match to fall in the nineties, after Dhawan.
Smith plus a well made 46 off 47 balls by Marnus Labuschagne and a useful 18 off 17 balls by Alex Carey brought the equation down to 122 needed in 13 overs.
Kuldeep Yadav stepped up to bowl his ninth, having given away 57 runs already, and more than made up for it with a double-wicket over. Dismissing Carey and then the dangerous Smith, India were back in the game with Australia at 221/5. This was the thirteenth time Yadav has taken more than one wicket in an over.
From there on Australia never really came back into the match. The fast bowlers finished things off with the visitors all out for 304, giving India a 36-run win and levelling the series 1-1.