India vs Australia 2017, 2nd T20I: Adam Zampa's two-wicket burst is SK Turning Point of the match
The leg-spinner dismisses Dhoni and Jadhav in quick succession to dent India's hopes.
Coming into the match with plenty of scrutiny on their capability to play in Indian conditions, Australia retaliated by putting on a splendid performance on a grassy surface and surged to a comprehensive 8-wicket victory with 27 balls remaining.
Jason Behrendorff propelled the visitors to a sizzling start by blazing through India's top-order. When a vital partnership seemed to be blossoming, Adam Zampa showed the effectiveness of wrist-spin by dismissing MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav in quick succession.
From thereon, the hosts continued to lose their way. Australia finally coasted to a facile win at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati and squared the series in style to set up a mouth-watering decider on Friday night.
Let us take a closer look at how Zampa's two-wicket spell virtually ended India's hopes in the second T20I.
Behrendorff scythes through the top-order
On a pitch sporting a discernible greenish tinge on it, stand-in captain David Warner won the toss and had no hesitation in bowling first. In just his second appearance at the international level, fast bowler Behrendorff immediately put the Aussies into the ascendancy with a sensational opening spell.
India's much vaunted top four of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey all walked back to the dressing room one after another. At 27/4, the match seemed to be heading in only one direction. The hosts desperately needed a partnership to offset the ramifications of the early damage.
Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav brought some sanity to the proceedings by resuscitating the innings. While the wicket-keeper batsman scratched around in an earnest attempt at accumulating as many runs as possible, his batting partner smashed three fours and a massive six to keep the Australian bowlers at bay.
Zampa drills the final nails in India's coffin
The duo added 33 runs from 32 balls to raise hopes of a recovery. However, Zampa broke the partnership and poured cold water on India's aspirations. Despite the surface not offering a lot of assistance to his style of bowling, the leg-spinner varied his pace smartly and generated substantial turn by imparting immense revolutions on the ball.
Zampa lured Dhoni out of the crease by floating a delivery up above the eye-line of the batsman. The 36-year-old stepped out in order to manoeuvre the ball. But the wrist-spinner spun the ball sharply to deceive the seasoned campaigner. Tim Paine collected cleanly and completed a straightforward stumping.
In his very next over, Zampa secured the vital wicket of Jadhav who until then had appeared like he was batting on an entirely different pitch. A lot quicker through the air, unlike his previous deliveries, the 25-year-old forced Jadhav to play down the wrong line. The much fuller googly cannoned on to the stumps. India were reeling at 67/6 at the start of the 12th over of the innings.
Australia cruise to victory
With every batsman above him in the lineup back in the pavilion, Hardik Pandya tried to inject some much-needed momentum into India's innings. The hard-hitter brought the crowd back to life with a towering six off Andrew Tye.
But Marcus Stoinis vindicated Australia's supremacy in the game by accounting for the dangerous Pandya. The all-rounder failed to get underneath a full delivery and could only offer a simple catch to long-off. The substitute fielder Daniel Christian accepted the chance gleefully. India were eventually bowled out for 118 from their full quota of 20 overs.
Chasing an easy target, Australia suffered an early hiccup when the Indian seamers dismissed both openers before the third over was completed. However, Moises Henriques and Travis Head joined hands to lead the visitors to a convincing triumph. While the seam bowling all-rounder smashed a rapid half-century, the latter chipped in with an aggressive knock to prevent India from having a sniff in the contest.