Fast bowler Jason Behrendorff led an inspired bowling effort to help Australia down India by eight wickets in the second Twenty20 international and level the series in Guwahati on Tuesday.
Behrendorff, playing his second match after making his debut in Ranchi last week, claimed four wickets to bowl out India for 118 before the visitors chased down the total with 27 balls to spare.
Moises Henriques, who hit 62 after being promoted to number three, and Travis Head, who made 48, put together an unbeaten 109-run partnership to keep the three-match series alive.
Australia lost two early wickets including skipper David Warner, but the 119-run target proved too little for the Indian bowlers to put pressure on the new batsmen.
The right-left batting combination of Henriques and Head played sensible cricket to deny the hosts any further chance of creating trouble.
Henriques hit four fours and four sixes during his 46-ball knock while Head also attacked the Indian wrist spinners with some good footwork.
Pacemen Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bhumrah took a wicket each while left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav went wicketless for his 46 runs.
But it was Behrendorff’s left-arm pace that set up the match for Australia after the lanky bowler returned impressive figures of 4-21.
The 27-year-old Behrendorff rattled the Indian top-order, reducing them to 27-4 after getting opener Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli, for nought, in the first over of the innings.
Kedar Jadhav and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who made 13, then tried to stem the rot during their 33-run partnership but leg-spinner Adam Zampa broke through the duo’s defences.
Zampa got Dhoni stumped on a classic leg-spinner and then bowled Jadhav with the googly.
Hardik Pandya hit a 23-ball 25 to take India across the 100-run mark, which had seemed tough at 70-7, but the batsman’s dismissal saw the innings fold on the last ball.
Pacemen Nathan Coulter-Nile, Andre Tye and Marcus Stoinis took a wicket each.
The final game will be played in Hyderabad on Friday. – AFP