India were staring down the barrel when Virat Kohli walked back on 104, his 39th hundred in ODIs. India needed 57 off 39, with 6 wickets in hand. At the crease was MS Dhoni who had been struggling to time the ball, and joining him was Dinesh Karthik.
Given the way Dhoni batted in the first match and the middle-order stuttered under pressure, Australia had an upper hand at that stage. However, India had experience in the thick of things. Although Dhoni was down before the last over, let us not disregard the fact that he had kept wickets for 50 overs and the temperate read in mid-40s. He smashed a last-over six, while Karthik was at his creative best. India won by 6 wickets, with 4 balls to spare.
Before the Kohli-Dhoni saga began, Indian pacers had laid the foundation for victory. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami took 7 wickets between them on a flat deck. Debutant Mohammad Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav went wicketless, while Ravindra Jadeja took 1 for 49.
All the same, the Indian bowlers had to toil hard to restrict Australia below 330, courtesy Shaun Marsh’s 131. He continued his good form from the SCG and ensured that Australia stay in hunt. His innings also helped Glenn Maxwell go full throttle in death overs: he bludgeoned 49 off 37, including 5 fours and six.
The final ODI will be played at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Australia 298 for 9 in 50 overs (Shaun Marsh 131, Glenn Maxwell 48; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4 for 45, Mohammad Shami 3 for 58) lost to India 299 for 4 in 49.2 overs (Virat Kohli 104, MS Dhoni 55*; Glenn Maxwell 1 for 16, Marcus Stoinis 1 for 46).