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Opening batsman Rohit Sharma's sizzling hundred went in vain yet again as Australia whipped the lacklustre bowling attack of India to seal the second ODI by seven wickets at the Gabba in Brisbane. The hosts now lead 2-0 in the five-match series with India just one match away from losing the series.
After deciding to bat, India managed to post a total of 308 runs at the loss of eight wickets. Rohit notched up his second consecutive hundred in the series and went on to make 124 runs. The Mumbai batsman was given adequate support by Virat Kohli (59), while Ajinkya Rahane (89) added the final flourish.
The target looked challenging just like it did in the first ODI at Perth. And, given India's bowling woes, the hosts gunned down the total with the greatest of ease. After a 145-run opening stand by Aaron Finch (71) and Shaun Marsh (71), George Bailey (76*) helped Australia canter home with seven wickets and an over to spare.
Despite setting a 300+ target in the second consecutive match of the series, the Indian team failed miserably in defending their total with the Aussie batsmen making an absolute mockery of the team's bowling attack.
Here's what led to Team India's second consecutive defeat in the five-match series:
Mohammed Shami's absence is clearly visible in India's pace attack which has failed to challenge the batting might of the opposition. After the seamers conceded 152 runs in the first ODI at Perth, MS Dhoni decided to bring in the experienced Ishant Sharma to replace Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the second match.
The move proved costly for India as Ishant, with his wayward bowling, ended up conceding more runs than Bhuvneshwar did in the first game. On the other hand, Umesh Yadav turned out to be the biggest disappointment for Dhoni after he conceded a whopping 74 runs for just one wicket in his spell of 10 overs.
Youngster Barinder Sran, too, failed to click as he went wicket-less while conceding 51 runs in nine overs. The pace trio of Sharma, Sran and Yadav conceded a staggering 185 runs in the second ODI which made Australia's run-chase of 308 runs a walk in the park.
For a man who took 36 wickets during South Africa's tour of India last year, it seems that Ravichandran Ashwin is yet to arrive in Australia. The off-spinner, who was busy bamboozling the likes of AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, is struggling not just to take wickets, but also to contain the flow of runs. Dhoni's go-to-bowler has taken just two wickets and conceded 128 runs in the two games so far.
At a time when India was struggling to find the breakthrough at the Gabba, Ashwin went wicket-less while conceding 60-odd runs. Ashwin's poor form has done a serious damage to Dhoni's scheme of things, leaving Team India in hot waters.
If India's bowling woes were not enough, Australia's decision to prepare flat decks that support stroke-making has proved to be a nightmare for the visitors. Be it WACA in the first ODI or the Gabba today, the wickets have supported the cause of the batsmen with the bowlers running for cover.
Once a fast-bowlers' paradise, the WACA witnessed Australia's five-wicket win in a game where eight wickets fell for 619 runs. It was the same story at the Gabba where 11 wickets fell for a staggering 617 runs. The wickets in the two games saw the ball coming nicely onto the bat, allowing the batsmen to play on the up.
With the lack of purchase for the spinners on such tracks, Australia have managed to nullify India's edge in the series so far.
Desperately looking to make amends for their crushing defeat at Perth, the Indian team knew they had to play out of their skin to level back the series 1-1. While the flat wickets helped the batsmen to post a competitive total, the bowling and, more importantly, their fielding led to the downfall in second ODI.
Having fallen short by 20-odd runs in their total, the Indian team had to take a few quick wickets to put pressure on the opposition. Australia were cruising at 48/0 after 12 overs when Shaun Marsh, who was batting on 19, lofted Ravindra Jadeja's second delivery straight down the throat of Ishant.
But, against the popular perception and to the utter dismay of the Indian fans, the Indian seamer dropped a dolly to instigate a round of boos at the Gabba. Marsh was finally dismissed by Ishant in the 30th over after he had scored 71 runs.