MELBOURNE: India revived their Australian tour with a convincing eight-wicket win over the home side in the second Twenty20 international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
The tourists dazzled in the field with four run outs to restrict Australia to 131 off 19.4 overs before reaching the target at 135 for two with two balls to spare before 62,275 fans. It was the Indians' first victory on their tour of Australia after losing the opening T20 game by 31 runs in Sydney on Wednesday and receiving a 4-0 thrashing in the Test series.
Australia were scuttled by a India's brilliant fielding, the pick of which came from man-of-the-match Ravindra Jadeja who claimed two run outs.
It was a shambolic Australian performance with the bat and in the field as the youthful Indian side finally revealed the hunger missing for so much of the lopsided Test series. Gautam Gambhir topscored with an unbeaten 56 off 60 balls with skipper M.S. Dhoni not out 21 off 18 balls after promoting himself to number four in the batting order.
“The fielding was exceptional. Best fielding side, I've seen. It will be hard to beat this effort,” Dhoni said.
“We are a side that relies a lot on a good start, not about the runs, a good, calm start is what we look for.
“Overall it was a good effort by the bowlers and equally by the top three batsmen.”The Indians were always in control of the run chase, but tensions mounted in the final over as the Australians ringed the field around Gambhir before he pierced the circle for the winning runs with two balls to spare.
India only lost the wickets of Virender Sehwag for 23 off 16 balls and Virat Kohli 31 off 24.
The impressive victory was just the momentum switch that India needed ahead of Sunday's opening match in the tri one-day series against Australia at the MCG.
Opener Aaron Finch, one of three changes from Australia's win in the opening T20 game, topscored with 36 off 23 balls and first match topscorer Matthew Wade chipped in with 32 off 29 balls.
But India had the home side under pressure from the third over when they had the adventurous David Warner dismissed for eight to a great catch in the deep by a back-pedalling Gambhir off Praveen Kumar.
Test flop Shaun Marsh was out for a two-ball duck and Finch was run out by an outstanding piece of athletic fielding by Jadeja after David Hussey hit the ball straight to him at backward point and scampered for a single.
Hussey also played a role in a second run out as Jadeja found skipper George Bailey (3) well out of his ground at the bowler's end, and was himself next to go, caught and bowled by Jadeja for 24 off 29 balls.
“It wasn't as close as it looked. Well short with the bat tonight. Four run-outs is the big difference. We were clearly out-fielded,” Bailey said.
“The two run outs of Finch and myself really slowed us up.”Smart glovework by Dhoni had Mitchell Marsh stumped for 13 off spinner Rahul Sharma and Wade was run out by a direct throw from Rohit Sharma in the 19th over.
The Australians collapsed losing their final three wickets in seven balls.
Clint McKay was caught by Dhoni off Vinay Kumar for a first-ball duck, veteran Brad Hogg was leg before wicket to Rahul Sharma for four and Xavier Doherty was run out by Suresh Raina attempting a suicidal second run to end Australia's innings with two balls left.
Kumar took two for 21 off three overs and Sharma claimed two for 29 off 3.4 overs.