Australia took field in Brisbane without their two frontline men – David Warner with bat and Josh Hazelwood with the ball – but ended up past the winning line, fairly comprehensively. India once again posted over 300, just like in WACA, but result was just the same as they were beaten by 7 wickets in the second One Day International.
Chasing 309 in 50 overs and clouds looming over the Gabba ground, Aussie openers – Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh – began cautiously scoring little over 4 runs per over till the first drinks break after 19th over. Only three boundaries were hit in the first ten overs of the innings.
But that turned out to be mirage under the cloudy sky.
Finch and Marsh, who was playing in for destructive David Warner, found weak links in Indian pacers and Indian slow bowlers. And that was only what Indian bowling had.
Aussie openers, who found Indian fielders blocking most of their hits till around 16 overs, soon began to find just empty space between their shots and the boundary ropes. Rest was done by the ball. From 68 for no loss they raced to 142 for no loss in just 8 overs. With 26 overs still to go and 167 more required and every batsman available…309 suddenly looked timid and tamed.
Once again, the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja gave away 110 runs in 19 overs between them. While Jadeja got Finch on a big shot, Ashwin went wicket-less and could hardly trouble the Aussies. The faster men too came across slower on the imagination with Yadav going for 74 in his 10 overs and Ishan costing 60 for just 1 wicket.
Both Finch and Marsh were out for solid 71 and a 145-run opening stand to show to record in the ledger.
Captain Steve Smith, who was a picture of perfection at WACA, looked very well set for another big score, if not grand, got out to the pacer Umesh Yadav for 46 off 47 balls but by then Australia was steady on its course of toppling India’s 309/8.
George Bailey, one of the finest ODI players currently in world cricket, lived up to the word scoring a well-paced 76 off 58 balls. He was well assisted by Glenn Maxwell, one of the most dangerous ODI player in the offing, who scored calm but assured 26 as Australia took 2-0 lead with three more games to go in the series.
Earlier extending his good run, Rohit Sharma scored another century and shared 100 plus stands each with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. India, however, failed to accelerate on the platform left by Sharma when he was dismissed in the 43rd over and score reading 255 for 3.
More wickets fell and Men in Blue could only add 53 in 46 balls, a let-down in a modern day cricket on a flat pitch and against the string of four ‘frontline’ bowlers with just 27 games between them.