Steven Smith scores 11th ODI hundred as Australia set India 390 in must-win game
Steven Smith scored his 11th One-Day International (ODI) century as Australia set India a target of 390 in the second ODI of the three-match series on Sunday.
It is a must-win game for Virat Kohli's side after they suffered a 66-run loss in the opening fixture earlier this week.
Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and opted to bat at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Finch and David Warner shared a 100-run partnership for the second consecutive game, having put up 156 runs for the opening wicket in the first ODI.
Finch struck a six and six fours in his knock of 60 from 69 balls, while Warner missed out on a well deserving century as he got run out for 77-ball 83 on Sunday. Smith, who walked in to bat at No. 3 when Australia were 142 for 1, went on to register his second successive hundred. The former Australian captain hammered 14 fours and a six en route 104 off 64 balls. He built a 156-run stand with Marnus Labuchagne for the third wicket before becoming a victim of Hardik Pandya, who was bowling for the first time since September 2019.
Labuchagne and Glenn Maxwell shared an 80-run partnership as the duo took Australia beyond 300. Maxwell, who was a flop show at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), now has delivered with the bat for his national team for two games in a row. After his 19-ball 48 in the first ODI, Maxwell belted four fours and four sixes in his fabulous unbeaten knock of 63 off 29 balls on Sunday at the SCG.
Despite not being fully fit to bowl, Pandya was given four overs on Sunday, and the all-rounder did make a difference with his spell. While he dismissed Smith, he gave away only 24 runs in four overs, which was a terrific effort when compared to the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, who each leaked 70-plus runs.
Earlier, Indian captain Kohli accepted that his side was a bit rusty in the first game, but they have played enough 50-over cricket to recover professionally. "After the 30-over mark, the bodies started to stiffen up a little bit as we have not played a long game for a while. The guys have understood what we need to do right today. The second half was very encouraging even though we lost four wickets. The big partnership (Dhawan-Pandya) kept us in the game.
We can take a lot of positives from that. It's about covering up in the early part of the innings where we are not far behind because you don't want your bowlers to not have time, especially at the death. That's one thing we are looking to improve on," added Kohli during the toss.