India's valiant effort with the bat went in vain as Australia's mammoth total proved too many for them. The hosts won by 51 runs and clinched the series 2-0 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Chasing a massive target of 390, Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal made a brisk start and brought up 50 in only 6.1 overs. But Josh Hazlewood broke the partnership by dismissing Dhawan for 30. Agarwal soon followed his partner and went back to the pavilion in the next over after making 28.
Skipper Virat Kohli paired up with Shreyas Iyer to bring the chase back on track. They added 93 for the third wicket as Iyer was dismissed in the 24th over thanks to a spectacular catch by Steven Smith. Kohli carried on till the 35th over but fell short of a hundred as Hazlewood sent him back. His 83-ball 87 was studded with seven boundaries and two sixes. KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya tried to get close to the target but the Aussie bowlers made life difficult for them. Rahul made 76 off 66 balls before getting out in the 44th over. Hardik Pandya did not get going as he could manage only 28 off 31 balls. India, in the end, fell well short of the target by 51 runs.
Pat Cummins was the pick of the bowlers, picking up three wickets for 67 runs. Hazlewood and Adam Zampa picked up two apiece and Moises Henriques did a fine job with the ball too, picking up the wicket of Iyer.
Australia, after being elected to bat first, started in a similar fashion as the previous match. Openers David Warner and Aaron Finch carried their form from the previous match and looked to score right from the word go. The struggle for the Indian bowlers in the powerplay continued as they failed to pick up one in this match too. Warner was the more aggressive of the two and they both gave the Indians a very tough time. Warner and Finch put on their third consecutive hundred-run partnership at home in ODIs before Finch was dismissed for 60 by Mohammed Shami in the 23rd over. Warner was run out courtesy a terrific direct throw from Shreyas Iyer. En route to his 77-ball 83, he struck seven fours and three sixes.
Steven Smith found an ally in Marnus Labuschagne and they put on 136 for the third wicket. Smith was in sublime form yet again and pulled off another batting masterclass. He notched up his 10th ODI hundred off 62 balls. This was jointly the third fastest ODI hundred by an Australian. Smith smashed a century off an equal number of balls in the previous match.
Smith got out after scoring 104 off 64 balls with the help of 10 fours and two sixes. But it did not stop the flow of runs as Glenn Maxwell took over from him. He started from where he left off in the previous game. He was at his innovative best and remained unbeaten on 63 off 29 deliveries. Labuschagne also contributed significantly with the bat and scored 70 off 62. Every one of the Australian top five went past fifty as they posted a mammoth total of 389 for four after 50 overs.
It was a tough day for the Indian bowlers. Most of them were taken to the cleaners and none could register an economy rate of less than six. Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah got one wicket each.
Steven Smith was named the player of the match for his sublime knock. He had, before the start of the series, claimed that he had 'found his hand' and it was evident in the last two matches. "I tried to whack the ball too hard in the IPL but I've started hitting it with more finesse I should say, which is working for me. Nice to score some runs again for the team and get us to a good total. I thought the boys were outstanding in the field as well," Smith said after being adjudged man of the match for the second time in a row.
Virat Kohli admitted that they were outplayed by Australia. "(We were) completely outplayed. I think with the ball we were not that effective. We didn't hit the areas we wanted to consistently. They've got a strong batting lineup and know the angles. Their total was a bit too steep if you see we got 340 and still lost by 51 runs," he said in the post-match presentation.
Australia have bagged the three-match series 2-0 and will face India in the third ODI in Canberra on December 2.