India had a forgettable outing with both bat and ball as Australia bounced back in the T20 series with a crushing eight-wicket win in the second game on Tuesday.
Rookie pacer Jason Behrendorff (4/21) ripped through the high-profile Indian batting to restrict the home team to a below par 118 at the Baraspara Stadium, which hosted its first international match.
Later, Travis Head (48 off 34) and Moises Henriques (62 off 46) shared an unbeaten 109-run stand off 76 balls to fire Australia to a series levelling win in just 15.3 overs.
The victory was also Australia’s first over India in eight T20 Internationals. The series decider will be played in Hyderabad on Friday.
The left-right combination of Head and Henriques took the game away from India after the visitors lost their dangerous openers, David Warner and Aaron Finch, by the third over.
After faltering with the bat, the Indian bowlers put up an ordinary performance, offering too many loose balls to Head and Henriques. The dew also was a factor with the ball not turning as much as it did in the first innings.
The end result was that India’s wrist spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendar Chahal, leaked 75 runs in 7.3 overs. Yadav especially had an ordinary day as he bowled too many boundary balls to Head and Henriques, who hit a combined nine fours and five sixes. Four of those big hits came off Henriques’s bat.
Earlier, Behrendorff, playing only his second international match, ended with dream figures of four for 21 in four overs.
The 27-year-old from Western Australia swung the ball both ways on a helping pitch with Rohit Sharma (8), Shikhar Dhawan (2) and Virat Kohli (0) among his high-profile scalps.
It was the first international game played at the venue and the packed crowd was in for a shock after Rohit hit two crisp fours in the opening over bowled by Behrendorff.
Behrendorff showed remarkable maturity to bounce back from those two boundaries to trap Rohit plumb in front with an inswinger.
Kohli departed two balls later after getting a faint inside edge while attempting a flick and the looping ball was caught by the left-arm pacer himself.
Behrendorff then had Manish Pandey caught behind with one that swung away just enough before Dhawan fell to a spectacular running catch by opposition captain David Warner.
His spell of four overs was enough to break the backbone of Indian batting which was hardly tested in the ODI series. The figures were also Behrendorff’s best in the T20 format.
With India in deep trouble at 27 for four, Kedar Jadhav (27) and MS Dhoni (13) tried to get going in the middle and ended up with a 33-run stand.
However, Australia were able to tighten their noose around India in the middle overs through Adam Zampa (2/19 in four overs). He had a charging Dhoni stumped with a perfect leg-spinner before finding Jadhav’s stumps to leave India in more trouble at 67 for six.
Hardik Pandya (25) hit a cracking six over midwicket, much to the entertainment of the home crowd but it was not enough to take India to a competitive total.
The new international venue did experience some teething issues as journalists complained about the lack of basic facilities in the media centre.