Shankar added 46 runs besides being involved in an 81-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Virat Kohli.

Vijay Shankar’s allround skills helped India script a thrilling eight-run victory in the second one-day international against Australia at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur on Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. (ALSO READ: Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah star as India beat Australia in thriller)

Shankar, who had added 46 runs besides being involved in an 81-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Virat Kohli, turned out to be the hero for the hosts after the captain threw him the ball to defend 11 runs in the last over. The Tamil Nadu allrounder first trapped well-set batsman Marcus Stoinis lbw with a seam-up delivery for 52. Adam Zampa then took a double off the next delivery, but was unable to defend a perfect yorker by Shankar, right in the blockhole that crashed straight into the middle-stump as India recorded their 500th ODI win.

“It was an opportunity to redeem myself after the expensive over I bowled,” Shankar, who conceded 13 runs off his opening over, said after the match.

“I was literally waiting for this opportunity, wanted to bowl under pressure because only if I deliver, they will trust me. I was upto the challenge. Around the 43rd over, I was telling myself that I am bowling the final over and just prepared myself a bit. It’s about staying clear mentally. Wanted to just stick to the basics, hit the stumps from a hard length as there was a bit of reverse,” he explained. (ALSO READ: Ravindra Jadeja third Indian to complete 2000 runs and take 150 wickets in ODIs)

Elaborating on whether the pressure of bowling the final over under pressure got to him, Shankar said: “When you play for the country, you have to be ready to do what the team needs. I always say to myself to keep working on all aspects of my game so that when the opportunity arrives, I am ready to grab it.”

His 41-ball 46 was studded with five boundaries and the solitary six. “Yes, it was good, timed the ball well and rotating the strike well. I was confident of doing well and we (him and Kohli) had a good partnership,” he said.