Shubman Gill showed his insatiable hunger for runs with fifth hundred of the year while Shreyas Iyer hit a timely ton under pressure to set up a series sealing 99-run win for India in the second ODI against Australia in Indore on Sunday.
Gill (104 off 97 balls) and Iyer (105 off 90 balls) shared a stroke-filled 200-run stand off 164 balls before Suryakumar Yadav (72 not out off 37 balls) unleashed carnage to fire India to 399 for five, the hosts’ highest total against Australia in ODIs.
Skipper K.L. Rahul chipped in with 52 off 38 balls.
Rain stopped play for the second time in the game when Australia were 56 for two in nine overs. With the revised target of 317 in 33 overs, they fell further behind in the game and ended with 217 all out in 28.2 overs.
David Warner (53 off 39), who batted right-handed against R Ashwin (3/41), and Sean Abbott (54 off 36), had a good hit in the middle.
The series win without their five main players in the squad was a big boost for India ahead of the World Cup at home.
The final game, in which a full strength India squad is expected to play, will take place in Rajkot on Wednesday.
While Gill extended his sensational run with a fifth ODI hundred in 2023, runs were more than welcome for Iyer who missed the majority of Asia Cup with a back spasm soon after returning from a long injury lay-off.
Iyer, who was fighting for a spot in the middle-order with Ishan Kishan, might have settled the debate for now. However, Surya has emerged as another contender for that one spot with an explosive knock.
The Holkar Stadium tends to produce high-scoring games and Sunday’s game proved no exception.
Gill’s peerless form is an ominous reminder to rivals ahead of next month’s World Cup.
It was a second consecutive ODI hundred for the 24-year-old at this venue, having hammered 112 off 78 balls against New Zealand earlier this year when India ended with a match-winning 395.
Unlike Iyer, Gill began slowly on Sunday, collecting nine off his first 19 balls before going after the Aussie bowlers with disdain. He was unstoppable after his first strike which was a straight six off pacer Abbott in the ninth over.
Cameron Green tried a short one against Gill who was happy to pull him away for a six over fine leg. But the rain caused a 40-minute delay, putting a temporary halt to the entertainment. Both Gill and Iyer, who struggled with cramps towards the end of his innings, continued to find boundaries after resumption.
The highlight of Gill’s knock was how frequently he danced down the track against the fast bowlers while Iyer’s aggressive intent from ball one stood out in a scenario where he was desperately searching for runs.
Both Iyer and Gill got their half-centuries with straight sixes, off debutant Spencer Johnson and Green respectively. Conditions were ideal for the batters but the Australian attack, missing the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, looked short on ideas. Lead spinner Adam Zampa too could not stem the flow of runs.
Iyer was the first to complete a century, his third in ODIs, while Gill got to the milestone, his sixth in the format, 19 balls later.
When both the batters departed, Rahul and Kishan (31 off 18) played some bold strokes to up the scoring rate. Suryakumar, who had to change his game in the previous match to adapt to the needs of ODI cricket, came out to bat in the 41st over.
In the T20 context, it was an ideal time for him to come and explore his 360 range from ball one. He did just that to power India to a formidable total.
His innings included four sixes in a row off Green in the 44th over. The towering pacer conceded 103 runs in his 10 overs, so symbolic of their wretched outing with the ball on the day.
Australia were never in the run chase after losing their first two wickets off successive deliveries from pacer Prasidh Krishna in the second over. Both Matthew Short and Steve Smith fell chasing wide deliveries.
The extra bounce that Krishna generates contributed to Smith’s dismissal with Gill holding on to a flying catch at first slip.
Warner then enthralled the spectators with his stroke play, batting both right and left-handed.
He batted right-handed mainly to Ashwin who got the ball to turn even after the rain break. After sensationally sweeping Ashwin with his right-hand, Warner was adjudged leg before-wicket as he attempted a reverse hit from the unusual stance.
India were guilty of dropping two catches in the field. Ravindra Jadeja too got plenty of purchase from the surface and ended with three wickets.