Team India went from strength to strength in the three-game ODI series against Australia as they clinched the second encounter by a comprehensive 99-run margin in Indore on Sunday (September 24).
Shreyas Iyer was adjudged the Player of the Match for his sensational century. The batter had support from Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav and KL Rahul before India skittled out the visitors, who needed to chase 400 to level the rubber, for 217.
The Men in Blue are firing on most cylinders right now. They have a couple of questions to answer, though, and will be carefully analyzing their performances against Australia ahead of the World Cup 2023.
Here are two mistakes and one masterstroke made by Team India in the second ODI against Australia.
#3 Mistake - Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill slowed down considerably
Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill were India's two highest scorers in the second ODI and were the principal architects of the side nearly breaching the 400-run mark. They played superbly for most of their partnership after losing Ruturaj Gaikwad early.
However, the duo inexplicably slowed down as they approached their respective centuries. Between overs 20 and 28, India made just 40 runs as the innings run rate dipped drastically. Gill took 27 balls to score the 17 runs he needed for his century when he was on 83, while Shreyas fared only slightly better.
There was a five-over phase where no boundary was scored, largely because no attacking strokes were played. The heat definitely took its toll on the batters, so it's tough to point fingers, but the message that personal milestones shouldn't mean much must be clearly sent.
India could've easily made more than 400 had they not slowed down between overs 20 and 30.
#2 Masterstroke - Ravichandran Ashwin's spell was a treat to watch
Ravichandran Ashwin's ODI credentials might still be questioned, but boy is he a talented bowler. In Indore, the experienced campaigner came up with some gems to breathe life into the second innings.
Ashwin bamboozled Marnus Labuschagne with one that held its line after pitching and brought out a carrom ball that drifted into the right-handed batter to trap Josh Inglis in front. Between the two dismissals, he was engaged in a spicy battle with David Warner, coming out on top as the Aussie opener tried to be inventive.
Ashwin was the only Indian bowler to have an economy rate under 6.00 as he conceded just 41 runs in seven overs. He bowled 20 dots and got the ball to turn in both directions.
It was a truly masterful display of planning and execution from the veteran off-spinner.
#1 Mistake - India's bowlers weren't at their best despite comprehensive win
There's a reason why Ashwin was the only bowler to concede less than run-a-ball in Indore. Yes, the short boundaries and fast outfield played into the batters' hands, but some of India's frontline bowlers came up with inconsistent displays.
Prasidh Krishna's two-wicket burst in the second over of the chase should've set the tone for the rest of his spell, but he lost his radar thereafter. The tall quick dished out several loose deliveries during the six overs he bowled, leaking 56 runs.
Shardul Thakur was taken for 35 in four, while Ravindra Jadeja was hit for 42 in 5.2 overs despite picking up three wickets. A total of 14 fours and seven sxies were hit off the three bowlers as they floated up deliveries in the slot and also erred on the other side by being short and wide.
India's massive total, though, meant that they had room to work with, so Australia didn't get close even through their innings run rate was 7.65.
Poll : Did Shreyas and Gill slow down because they were approaching their centuries?