Sydney, Nov 29 (IANS) India, missing an extra bowler who could play back-up to the regular bowlers leaking runs, were forced to turn to a semi-fit Hardik Pandya during Sunday’s second ODI against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Pandya, who had said after Friday’s first ODI that he is not yet fit to bowl in a match, was pressed into attack in the 36th over after India were finding the going tough with Australia racing to 230/2 in 35 overs.
The all-rounder impressed with the ball, varying his pace, slowing it down and picking up the wicket of centurion Steve Smith, who scored a 64-ball 104 to follow his 66-ball 105 in the first ODI.
The 27-year-old was filling up the overs of pace bowler Navdeep Saini who had proved very expensive, going for 55 runs in his six overs up until then. Saini ended up with figures of 0/70 in his seven overs.
Pandya conceded just five in his first over as he bowled slower bouncers that were hard to time for the batsmen. He then conceded just four in the next over, ensuring that there was some check to the proceedings.
The right-hander was taken off after the 38th over, having bowled just two overs, but skipper Virat Kohli was forced to bring him back after India conceded 38 in the next three overs.
Pandya responded with the wicket of Smith and ended with one for 24 in four overs.
Despite Pandya’s effort, India conceded 389 runs in 50 overs, Australia’s highest ODI total against India, bettering the 374 they scored in the first ODI.