Sydney, November 29
The majestic Steve Smith produced another master class in the form of a 64-ball century and powered Australia to an imposing 389 for four in the second ODI against a sluggish India here on Sunday.
This was the Australian run-machine’s fifth century against India in the 50-over format and second on the trot after his ton in the series-opener, which came off 66 deliveries.
Besides Smith’s 104-run knock, swashbuckling opener David Warner smashed 83 off 77 while skipper Aaron Finch contributed 60 in a first-wicket stand of 142 in under 23 overs.
The duo of Marnus Labuschagne and Glenn Maxwell continued the onslaught to propel Australia to a humongous score in a must-win game for the visitors. Labuschagne made 70 and the big-hitting Maxwell blazed away to 63 off 29 balls with the help of four sixes and as many fours.
During his innings of 104, Smith hit 14 boundaries and two sixes while Warner found the fence seven times and cleared it thrice before missing out on what would have been a well-deserved ton, thanks to a fine direct throw from the deep by Shreyas Iyer.
In his trademark unconventional manner, Smith played shots all round the wicket to torment the Indian bowlers.
To dislodge Smith, India needed all-rounder Hardik Pandya to bowl for the first time since returning from a back surgery more than a year ago, and he did the trick in his third over, luring the imperious Australian to slash one straight into Mohammed Shami.
Earlier, Warner got the Australian innings under way with a boundary through the point region off Shami in the first over.
The manner in which he leaned back to place the short and wide fourth delivery on the off side showed Warner’s intent.
Coming off an expensive outing in the series-opener, lead pacer Jasprit Bumrah started with a maiden and generated good pace off a wicket with a decent grass cover. But he soon lost his rhythm as the Australians found theirs after a slow start.
Finch found his first boundary of the day when he comfortably flicked Bumrah over the backward square leg region, even as the bowler clocked 146-147 on the speed gun.
The Young Navdeep Saini was brought on early and Warner welcomed him with a six over the square leg boundary, whacking his short first delivery with aplomb.
Taking full advantage of Saini’s inexperience in these conditions, Warner collected two boundaries off him before giving the same treatment to Shami in the innings’ eighth over, as Australia reached 50 in another solid start for the home team.
Australia maintained the momentum through the innings as the Indian bowlers toiled on a hot, sunny day. PTI