Guwahati: Left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff’s four-wicket burst sparked an Indian collapse and Moises Henriques and Travis Head then smoked India out to help Australia to an easy eight-wicket win in the second T20 of the three-match series Guwahati’s Barsapara Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. Chasing a target of 119, the visitors crossed the line in just 15.3 overs for the series-levelling win.
Australia didn’t have a great start in their 119-run chase as they lost both openers David Warner and Aaron Finch inside three overs with just 13 runs on the board. Jasprit Bumrah removed Warner while Bhuvneshwar Kumar accounted for Finch with skipper Virat Kohli holding on to the catch on both occasions
However, Henriques (62*), who was promoted to No. 3, found excellent support at the other end from Head (48*) and together they two put on a brilliant unbroken 109-run stand for the third wicket to win the match for the Aussies. Earlier put in to bat first, Behrendorff wrecked havoc on the Indian top order as they sank to 27 for 4 before recovering somewhat to end on 118.
Behrendorff, who didn’t have a particularly memorable debut in the first T20I, came steaming in and despite Rohit Sharma hitting two boundaries in his first over, he trapped him in front off the fourth ball. Kohli lasted two balls before Behrendorff snaffled him next for a duck.
A breathless first over for Behrendorff was then followed by a wicket in each of his second and third overs. Manish Pandey nicked one behind, while Shikhar Dhawan, targeting the long-on boundary, was unlucky to find Warner take a running catch. India 27 for 4, all the wickets taken by one man.
Kedar Jadhav and Mahendra Singh Dhoni then forged a partnership and for a while the boundaries were flowing off Jadhav’s bat. It seemed India might just turn the tide. But it turned out to be a false dawn with leg-spinner Adam Zampa dismissing both in a short space of time.
The scoreboard read 70 for 7 when Nathan Coulter-Nile nabbed Bhuvneshwar. Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya then produced a few lusty hits but couldn’t reprise his role as he fell for 25 to Marcus Stoinis. The batsmen were haring between the wickets, realising every run now was crucial, but Australia did well to contain them to 118. The two teams will now lock horns in the series decider to be played on October 13 in Hyderabad.