Over 60,000 fans turned up to catch a glimpse of Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team ahead of the game against Australia. However, they had to encounter disappointment in Melbourne’s fickle weather as persistent rain forced the second game to be declared a no result. With this, Aaron Finch’s maintain their 1-0 lead against India heading into the final game in Sydney on Sunday. The rain interruptions spoiled what could have been an intriguing contest between the two sides on a sluggish pitch and in overcast conditions. The Indian bowlers put up a much-improved performance against an Australian side that clearly struggled to get going in tough conditions.
In cold and overcast conditions, Virat Kohli inserted Australia in and immediately found success when Bhuvneshwar Kumar got rid of Aaron Finch for a first-ball duck. Bhuvneshwar, along with Khaleel Ahmed and Jasprit Bumrah, got plenty of swing from the wicket and bounce and Australia’s top order were found wanting.
In the third over, India’s sloppy fielding came to the fore as Rishabh Pant dropped D’Arcy Short on 7 off Bhuvneshwar while Bumrah parried a top-edge from Chris Lynn over the fine leg fence for a six. Both Lynn and Short struggled to get their timing going and Khaleel got the big wicket of Lynn when the batsman sliced a full ball to deep cover. The left-arm pacer struck again in his second over as Short dragged a delivery back on to the stumps to depart for 14.
Bumrah also joined in the fun as Stoinis’upper-cut found Dinesh Karthik at deep backward point. After the end of the powerplay, Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav choked the Australian batting and Krunal made amends for his poor show in Brisbane by getting rid of Maxwell for 19. Australia continued to lose wickets and it seemed they would be bowled out for a low score.
McDermott hangs in
However, Ben McDermott, who struggled against Kuldeep and Krunal, hung in and broke the shackles by sweeping Kuldeep for a boundary to backward square leg. Nathan Coulter-Nile chipped in with an aggressive cameo by launching sixes off Kuldeep and Bhuvneshwar.
The 18th over of the innings, bowled by Khaleel, gave Australia momentum. Andrew Tye hit two boundaries and McDermott finished the innings with a six as 19 runs were hit. McDermott guided Bumrah to the third man fence for a boundary in the 19th over but the rain came and it was the start of a stop-start evening.
Rain spoils the fun
When Bumrah was bowling the 19th over, the rain had picked up and Virat Kohli wanted to leave. However, the umpires did not allow and after the end of the over, the players exited the field. Kohli was involved in an animated conversation with the umpire as the rain lasted long enough for the Australian innings to be truncated.
After a 50-minute rain delay, the revised target as per the DLS method was 90 in 11 overs. The ground was ready and the Australian players had marched out on the field but the rain returned again. After a further delay, there was slight hope for a five-over game. With the cut-off time for a five-over game at 10:02 Melbourne time, the rain had eased off and covers were being removed. However, any chances of a resumption were dashed when it rained again and the game was called off.