India vs Australia 2017, 2nd ODI: 5 things we learnt from the match
India outbowled Australia on a two-paced Eden Gardens wicket to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. Kuldeep Yadav was the man of the moment as he picked up the third hat-trick by an Indian in ODI cricket dismissing Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar and Pat Cummins off successive balls in the 33rd over.
Earlier, Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first on a tricky Eden wicket. Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile bowled their hearts out but Virat Kohli and a free-flowing Ajinkya Rahane bailed India out. Rahane's run-out triggered a middle-order collapse from which India never quite recovered.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar made up for that with a sizzling opening spell that accounted for Hilton Cartwright and David Warner. Although Steven Smith and a rampant Travis Head helped resurrect Australia, they kept losing wickets regularly. Kuldeep then sealed the game with his hat-trick although Marcus Stoinis did his best to reduce the margin of defeat.
#5 Rahane only needs to touch the ball to send it to the cover boundary
Sourav Ganguly is often hailed as the God of the off-side. But today, Ajinkya Rahane showed that he isn't too far behind with some outrageous strokes through the cover boundary, mostly off mere pushes. Such was the kind of timing that Rahane exhibited today that he only needed to get bat on ball to send it to the off-side boundary.
26 of his first 27 runs came through the off-side with five of those racing for fours off pristine cover drives. Rahane appeared to have mastered the two-paced wicket as he stroked the ball around effortlessly even as Rohit Sharma and Kohli struggled to get their timings going. Unfortunately for Rahane, a mix-up with Kohli saw him walk back run- out, but not before he had compiled his 20th One Day International half-century.
#4 Virat Kohli can miss on hundreds too
We are so used to seeing Kohli convert his half-centuries to hundreds that a rare mishap hurts like hell. On Thursday at Eden Gardens, Kohli delighted the crowd with a composed, well-articulated knock but fell agonisingly short of a hundred as Nathan Coulter-Nile once again sent him back.
Kohli had a sedate start to his innings before he unfurled some typical classy shots to race to a fine half-century. Although he lost companions on the way, Kohli seemed poised to notch up his 31st hundred. But Coulter-Nile had other ideas as he found reverse swing to force an inside edge off the Indian captain's bat that uprooted the stumps.
#3 Coulter-Nile is here to stay
Nathan Coulter-Nile has a pretty good idea of the Eden Gardens wicket. He has played quite a few matches on the ground for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and is aware of the two-paced nature of the wicket. Knowing this, the Australian kept mixing up his length and pace, resulting in Rohit Sharma chipping one back to him. Coulter-Nile almost missed the return catch but grabbed onto the rebound.
The well-built fast bowler then returned to dismiss Kedar Jadhav and Virat Kohli in quick succession to trigger a collapse. He had gotten rid of Kohli for a duck in the first ODI as well and seems to know a thing or two about bowling to the Indian captain. Considering the wealth of experience he carries and his current form, Coulter-Nile is quickly establishing himself as Australia's go-to bowler.
#2 Kuldeep Yadav becomes third Indian to take ODI hat-trick
Kuldeep Yadav exploited his knowledge of the conditions at Eden Gardens to pluck out a hat-trick, becoming the third Indian to achieve the feat in ODI cricket.
Kuldeep Yadav to Matthew Wade - Wade tries to push a shortish delivery to the off-side, but finds the inside edge that clatters the stumps.
Kuldeep Yadav to Ashton Agar - A near perfect yorker is completely missed by the newbie at the crease and he departs leg before wicket.
Kuldeep Yadav to Pat Cummins - The googly from Yadav is edged by Pat Cummins and Dhoni takes a pretty good catch as Yadav is mobbed by his exuberant teammates.
Kuldeep became the third Indian after Chetan Sharma and Kapil Dev to record a hat-trick in this format of the game. In fact, this was Kuldeep's second hat-trick in Indian colours having taken one in the under-19 World Cup in 2014.
#1 Marcus Stoinis plays a lone hand
There is a reason Australia prefer Stoinis over Mitchell Marsh in their ODI side of late. A steely cricketer who never backs down, Stoinis has time and over showcased an uncanny ability to put his hand up during crisis situations. With Australia all but out of the game, Stoinis went about clubbing the Indian bowlers to get Australia as close as possible.
However, he ran out of partners when on 62 with Australia way short of India's score. Despite the visitors losing the game, they will take heart from Stoinis' gritty knock. On a two-paced wicket, Stoinis also bowled pretty well, mixing up his slower balls and cutters to good effect.