Another pulsating Steve Smith century and two flying outfield catches clinched the ODI Series for Australia with a 51-run victory over India in Sydney on Sunday.
Smith tormented India together with his second blistering hundred in as many matches as Australia posted one other enormous goal, reaching 389-4 in 50 overs. The Australians then restricted India to 338-9 with Virat Kohli falling on 89 to an impressive Moises Henriques catch.
Smith adopted up his 105 off 66 balls in Friday’s first ODI victory with an equally dominant 104 off 64 balls because the Indians could not stem the runs on a slow-paced Sydney Cricket Ground pitch in searing circumstances.
The total eclipsed Australia’s previous best score of Friday’s 374-6 against Indian. It was India’s fifth consecutive ODI defeat.
But Australia’s win might have come at a price, with David Warner injuring his groin in a fielding tumble and more likely to be out for the following ODI — and presumably the next T20 series.
Australia’s top order made India pay after skipper Aaron Finch won the toss. Warner hit 83 off 77 balls, Finch 60 off 69, Marnus Labuschagne 70 off 60 and Glenn Maxwell bludgeoned a crowd-pleasing unbeaten 63 from 29 balls.
Smith placed on a batting clinic with a 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 large slower supply off Hardik Pandya and getting a thick edge to Mohammed Shami at third man.
Finch and Warner brought up their 12th century opening stand, and fourth in 2020, off 16 overs before the former mistimed Shami and spooned a catch to Kohli. Finch’s dismissal ended a 142-run opening wicket stand.
Warner chanced his luck on 83 however was run out by a superb direct throw from Shreyas Iyer at long-off. India lost Shikhar Dhawan by the eighth over when he miscued Josh Hazlewood and was caught by Mitchell Starc for 30 off 23 balls.
Pat Cummins had another opener Mayank Agarwal caught behind for 28 off 26 and a sensational catch by Smith at mid-wicket ended Iyer’s knock of 38, giving Moises Henriques a wicket.
Henriques proved Australia’s hero together with his athletic horizontal catch to dismiss Kohli off Hazlewood for the prized wicket within the 35th over. KL Rahul hit an enterprising 76 off 66 balls but under pressure to score sliced leg-spinner Adam Zampa to Hazlewood at quick third man.