Sports Desk: Australia made a mountainous run of runs from Steve Smith's 64-ball century with an innings of 104 runs to defeat India by 51 runs in the second ODI here on Sunday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. Australia won the toss and batting, apart from Smith's century, scored a huge score of 389 for four from four half-century innings.
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Australian 'run machine' Smith's fifth century in the 50-over format against India and he scored his second consecutive century in the opening match of the series after hundreds. In the first ODI, he faced 66 balls for a century. A 390-run target proved to be a big one for India, despite skipper Virat Kohli (89) and Lokesh Rahul (76) scoring 338 for nine in their allotted 50 overs. In-form Shikhar Dhawan (30) and Manik Agarwal (28) started from the boundary for the Indian team to chase this big goal.
Aggarwal passed the ball across the boundary twice in the first over while Dhawan hit three consecutive fours over Mitchell Starc. Agarwal's superb cover drive saw the visiting team cross the 50-run mark in 6.1 overs. However, Dhawan lost the wicket in an attempt to score runs fast. Then Kohli came down and the Indian captain kept India in the race to chase the target, putting on some great shots during his 87-ball innings as usual.
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India tried to maintain the required run rate of 9–10 runs per over. But fast bowler Josh Hazlewood brought Australia the biggest breakthrough when Moises Henriques dived at midwicket on his ball and caught Kohli's catch. After this, Hardik Pandya landed at the crease and this all-rounder teamed up with Lokesh Rahul to score some big shots. But that was not enough.
Rahul reached the pavilion during his 66-ball innings with five sixes and four fours. After this the Indian team lost hope. Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins took three wickets for 67 runs in his 10 overs. In addition to Smith's 104-run knock, explosive opener David Warner scored 83 off 77 balls while captain Aaron Finch contributed 60 runs for the first wicket in a partnership of 142 runs in 23 overs.
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The pair of Marnus Labuschen and Glenn Maxwell kept the aggression intact, leading Australia to a mammoth score. Labushen scored 70 and Big Hitter Maxwell scored an unbeaten 63 off 29 balls with the help of four sixes and the same fours. Smith hit 14 fours and two sixes during his 104-run knock, while Warner hit the ball seven times and hit three sixes, though he missed his century due to a brilliant throw from Shreyas Iyer's deep.
Smith, playing in his traditional style, collected shots around the wicket and blew Indian bowling. To dismiss him, India had to take the help of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who bowled for the first time after back surgery a year earlier and was also able to lure the Australian out in his third over. In an attempt to play his ball, Smith caught Mohammed Shami at short third man.
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Earlier, Warner started the Australian innings by sending Shami's ball for the boundary in the first over. He had expressed his intention to play big innings. After losing a lot of runs in the opening match of the series, top pacer Jasprit Bumrah started from the maiden over and picked up a good pace from the wicket which had a lot of grass. But he soon lost his rhythm and the Australian players started picking up pace after a slow start.
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Finch hit Bumrah for his first four, sending the ball towards the backward square leg while the bowler had a speed of 146–147 km / h. Young Navdeep Saini was soon put on bowling and Warner welcomed him with a six over the square leg boundary. Under these circumstances, taking full advantage of Saini's lack of experience, Warner hit two fours in his over and then did the same to Shami's ball in the eighth over of the innings, which made Australia a strong start by completing 50 runs. Australia kept pace throughout the innings and the Indian bowlers sweated a lot in the heat.