Aaron Finch © Getty Images
Aaron Finch scored 96 in Australia’s run-chase of 268 © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Jan 18, 2015

Australia romped home to a four-wicket victory over India in the second One-Day International (ODI) of the tri-series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). It went down to the wire although Australia seemed in control in control of their run-chase. Aaron Finch’s 96 had put Australia on course, but then India hit back with crucial wickets. Ultimately, they won with a few balls to spare. Like the first ODI, Australia ran it close but got home in the end.

Having won the toss, India had chosen to bat first with Rohit Sharma‘s century taking India to 267 for eight. Mitchell Starc‘s six-wicket haul did not allow the tourists to score big on a good batting wicket. In reply, Finch held the innings together and gave the Indians no chance of making inroads. India did hit back with a few wickets at the end, but it was too late.

Finch’s innings was calm and assured. He took 81 balls to get to his fifty, but Australia were always over the required rate. Finch was also helped by David Warner upfront and Shane Watson, who scored 41. Watson got off to yet another star but did not convert it into a big one. Steven Smith walked in made it look all too easy. During this innings, he also completed 1,000 Test runs. Smith and Finch were looking set to complete it, but both fell short of milestones. Smith was dismissed on 47 when he found mid-wicket and then Finch was caught behind for 96 off Umesh Yadav. As Australia got closer, India bowler better and lost George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell.  A few tight overs then increased the pressure with Australia needing 15 off the last two overs. However James Faulkner and Brad Haddin finished it with an over to spare.

Earlier in the day, the crowd were given a good display of batting by Rohit Sharma. The Indian opener was the anchor on show. India had lost wickets early and were struggling at 59 for three. In partnership with Suresh Raina, who scored 51, Rohit setup a platform for an assault. It was an innings of temperance combined with the necessary aggression. Rohit had cleared the boundaries a few times with some exciting shots, none better than the pull shot off Starc.

That 126-run stand gave India hope of putting up a big score, but Starc came back to dent India. he started off by dismissing Raina for 15 in the batting powerplay. And then, he dismissed MS Dhoni and Akshar Patel in an over. That troubled India at the end and they could not score as quickly as they would have wanted to. Rohit had worked his way to a century, his third against Australia, but he cut a lone figure as wickets fell at the other end. He was ultimately dismissed for 138, handing a five-wicket haul to Starc, who then got his sixth by yorking Bhuvneshwar off the first ball.

Starc now has 10 wickets in two games in this series. He bowled with pace and extracted good movement to trouble the Indians through the innings. Rohit too made a mark with his batting, but was eclipsed by a team effort from Australia. India now face England on January 20 at the Gabba.

Brief scores:

India 267 for 8 in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 138, Suresh Raina 51; Mitchell Starc 6 for 43) lost to Australia 269 for 4 in (Aaron Finch 96, Steven Smith 47*; Umesh Yadav 2 for 55) by 4 wickets.

Man of the Match: Mitchell Starc.

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