Steve Smith scored a century once again as Australia claimed the three-match one-day international series with victory over India in Sydney on Sunday. Opting to bat first after skipper Aaron Finch won the toss, Australia – spurred on by Smith”s second ton in as many matches – set India a target of 390 to win. Despite skipper Virat Kohli’s imperious 89 it was not enough for the tourists, who were restricted to 338-9 to go down by 51 runs.
India’s batsman all made starts but the failure to convert those starts led to their downfall. Openers Shikhar Dhawan (30) and Mayank Agarwal (28) got India off to a quick start but neither was able to capitalise on their starts. Shreyas Iyer (38) and Kohli put together a 93-run stand for the third wicket but Iyer holed out to Smith off Moises Henriques. Kohli would then depart in the 35th over, caught by Henriques off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling.
KL Rahul (76 off 66 balls) launched a counter-attack that gave India an outside chance but his departure – as well as that of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja off successive Pat Cummins deliveries – put the nail in the coffin for India’s chances of keeping the series alive. Earlier, Smith tormented India with his second blistering hundred in two matches as Australia posted another huge target, reaching 389-4 off 50 overs.
Smith followed up his 105 off 66 balls in Friday’s first ODI victory with a dominant 104 off 64 balls as the Indians were impotent to stem the runs on a slow-paced Sydney Cricket Ground pitch in searing conditions.
The total surpassed Australia’s 374-6 which set up Friday’s 66-run crushing win in the first ODI on the same ground. The defeat also means India have now lost their last five ODIs on the trot. David Warner hit 83 off 77 balls, Finch made 60 off 69, Marnus Labuschagne 70 off 60 and Glenn Maxwell bludgeoned a crowd-pleasing unbeaten 63 from 29 balls.
Smith put on a batting clinic with his full array of quirky shot-making as he raced to triple figures laced with 14 fours and two sixes. He fell two balls later stretching for a wide slower delivery off Hardik Pandya and getting a thick edge to Mohammed Shami at third man.
Warner tucked into leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s first over with six, four and a single to bring up his 50 off 39 balls with Finch playing the anchor role. Warner had a big let-off on 54 when he narrowly beat home a throw off a Kohli fumble, a TV review confirming he just got his bat down diving for his crease.
Finch and Warner brought up their 12th century opening stand off 16 overs. Finch blasted Chahal for six over deep mid-wicket to raise his 50 off 60 balls as the Aussie pair continued to dominate.
India finally made the breakthrough after Finch mistimed Shami and spooned up a catch to Kohli via his pads. Finch’s 60 came off 69 balls with the first wicket falling at 142, following the pair’s 156-run stand in the first ODI.
Warner chanced his luck again on 83 but was run out by a brilliant direct throw from Shreyas Iyer at long-off. The third ODI will be played at Canberra on Wednesday (December 2).