India level ODI series after beating Australia by 36 runs
RAJKOT, India (AP) — India leveled the series with a match to go after beating Australia by 36 runs in the second one-day international on Friday.
Made to bat first, India totaled 340-6 with half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan (96), Lokesh Rahul (80), and captain Virat Kohli (78).
Australia was well short long before the chase sputtered out with five balls left, on 304 all out. Steve Smith led with 98 and Marnus Labuschagne added 46. They shared 96 runs for the third wicket but were gone by the 38th over.
Mohammed Shami finished with 3-77, while Navdeep Saini and Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets each.
The series decider is on Sunday at Bengaluru.
Dhawan and Rohit Sharma shared an 81-run opening stand, as India looked to rebound from the rare 10-wicket loss on Tuesday.
Sharma was out lbw on 42 to Adam Zampa (3-50) in the 14th over, which brought Kohli to the crease.
Dhawan and Kohli put on 103 runs, rotating the strike with ease and setting up a big score. India crossed 150 in the 25th over as Dhawan brought up his second consecutive half-century off 60 balls. He fell four short of a deserved hundred, dismissed by Kane Richardson.
Meanwhile, Kohli countered Zampa's legspin with aplomb and reached his half-century off 50 deliveries.
However, Zampa bowled Shreyas Iyer (7) and got Kohli’s prized wicket for a fifth time in ODI cricket. The India skipper was caught at the boundary with Ashton Agar aiding Mitchell Starc in the catch relay.
Rahul took charge in the death overs and smashed six fours and three sixes, bringing up his half-century off 38 balls to push India past 300 and earn man of the match. He helped India score 89 runs in the last 10 overs.
“Each day I have been thrown different roles and responsibilities, and I am enjoying it," Rahul said. "I got a good start today and the ball was coming on nicely. Was happy with the wicketkeeping duties as well.” He wore the gloves instead of Rishabh Pant, who was ruled out of the game owing to a concussion.
Australia's chase lost David Warner (15) early thanks to a stunning one-handed leaping catch by Manish Pandey.
Smith and Aaron Finch (33) rebuilt the innings. Despite Finch being stumped off Ravindra Jadeja, Smith kept Australia abreast of the asking rate.
He found an able partner in Labuschagne, and Australia crossed 150 in the 25th over. When Labuschagne tried to push the scoring rate, he was out caught in the deep off Jadeja.
Alex Carey added 18 off 17 balls, but Kuldeep Yadav delivered the double blow in the 38th over that changed the game.
First, Carey was out caught at mid off and Smith played on, falling two short of a hundred.
Australia's lower middle order didn’t have enough firepower to push for victory.
"We were always just one more wicket down than what we'd have liked at any stage of the chase,” Finch said.
Dhawan didn’t field after being hit in the ribs while batting. But he is expected to be fit for the series finale on Sunday at Bengaluru.
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