India, after conceding the opening game in Brisbane by 4 runs, came back strongly in Melbourne and had the upper hand all through as they restricted the hosts to 132/7 in 19 overs before the skies opened up. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed picked up two wickets each while Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya all chipped in with a wicket each to push Australia on the backfoot.
The intermittent rain had everyone on their toes as the overs began to reduce and just as a five-over chase was in the offing the drizzle was back forcing the game into abandonment. Australia now go to Sydney with a 1-0 lead knowing they can't lose the three-match series.
Earlier, Virat Kohli's decision to field first was vindicated almost immediately with Bhuvneshwar Kumar striking off just the second ball of the day with the wicket of Aaron Finch (0). The Australian captain, not accounting for the outswing went hard first ball only to give Rishabh Pant a simple catch behind the stumps.
D'Arcy Short got the boundary counter running with a cracking cover drive off Khaleel Ahmed before Jasprit Bumrah's misjudgement on the fine leg fence saw Chris Lynn fetch the first six for Australia.
However, Lynn who had found some form in the first outing failed to carry on this time around falling to Khaleel Ahmed. The left-arm pacer who was on the receiving end of Lynn's onslaught in the previous T20I got his revenge when Lynn sliced a delivery outside off straight into the hands of Krunal Pandya stationed at deep point for a run-a-ball 13.
Australia lost wickets quite regularly post that with the visitors tightening the leash. Short was castled by Khaleel for 14 while Stoinis (4) looking to carve a short and wide delivery off Jasprit Bumrah could only find Karthik at deep point. Pandya then got rid of the dangerous Glenn Maxwell (19) with an absolute seed that pitched on middle and spun sharply across the batsman to take his off-stump as the hosts slipped to 62/5 after 11 overs.
That soon became 74/6 in the 14th over when Alex Carey mishit Kuldeep Yadav to Pandya at long on. The Indian spinners, Kuldeep in particular, had the Australians in all sorts of strife with none of the batsmen managing to read the leg-spinner.
Just when it seemed Australia might fold for a sub-100 total Nathan Coulter-Nile, coming it at No.8, gave his side the much-required impetus. He cracked two fours and a six in his 9-ball 18 taking his side past the 100-run mark but fell soon after to Bhuvneshwar.
The duo of Andrew Tye and Ben McDermott then tonked Khaleel for 19 runs in the 18th over while collected 10 more of Bumrah's before a persistent drizzle forced the players off the field with the scoreboard reading 132/7 after 19 overs. McDermott remained unbeaten on 32 while Tye finished with 12*
Rain contained to play hide and seek with the ground staff having to remove the covers umpteen times only to put it back again. At 10:02 pm local time the two captains finally shook hands signalling the end of the game.
The third and final T20I will be staged at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.
First Published: November 23, 2018, 5:10 PM IST