Middle-over meltdown after middle-over meltdown later, Australia finally got it right in the second Twenty20 International at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium, brushing India aside by eight wickets.
In the Bangalore One-Day International, the only other win on the tour for Australia, it was Aaron Finch and David Warner that set it up for the side. In Guwahati, both batsmen were dismissed inside the first three overs of a modest chase but Moises Henriques and Travis Head were able to stand up to the Indian bowling attack.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who dismissed Finch and was the pick of the Indian bowlers with 1 for 9 in three overs, picked up on that as well and conceded that Australia had bowled better than them.
“It was a tough wicket for batting,” he said on Tuesday (October 10). “Rain was around, it was a damp wicket. So you know, the Australian bowlers made the most of the wicket. We tried our best to take initial wickets. But if you have to win the match, you have to keep taking wickets, especially in the middle overs, which we couldn’t do. I would say they bowled better than us.”
It was Jason Behrendorff that did the damage, dismissing Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the first over and then taking out Manish Pandey and Shikhar Dhawan to further reduce India to 27 for 4. Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav were the only batsmen to reach double digits as India were bowled out for 118.
“He [Behrendorff] bowled really well. He made full use of the wicket,” acknowledged Bhuvneshwar. “It was the perfect kind of wicket for the line and length he bowled. You need to be bit fortunate to get three or four wickets in T20s. Rohit Sharma’s wicket and Kohli’s wicket were the crucial points for us, in the first over itself.
“We tried to rebuild. That didn’t happen. It was one of the off-days for us as a batting team. We can’t really point a finger at someone and say it was their fault.”
Warner, the stand-in captain, didn’t hold Behrendorff back, bowling out all his four overs at the start to keep the foot on India’s neck. India, on the flip side, changed tack after Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah bowled three overs each.
“That is something that is part of the strategy, what the captain is thinking, what he wants to do. [Virat Kohli] made us bowl three overs each in the Power Play and we took wickets. It is up to him if he wanted us to bowl, we could have completed our quota. But that was his thinking. We can’t really say we could have bowled the way we started.”