It was groundhog day for India in Brisbane. Despite Rohit Sharma's second ODI on the trot, India's bowling and fielding left a lot to be desired yet again as Australia took a 2-0 in the series with a seven-wicket win in the second ODI. Veteran cricket journalist Ayaz Memon, or Cricketwallah as he is known, analyses the Brisbane ODI in an exclusive chat with Firstpost.
MS Dhoni opted to bat first again, and India made 308/8 in the allotted 50 overs - one run less than what they managed in Perth. And yet again, they ended up on the losing side, thanks to a solid batting performance by the hosts where Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and George Bailey made 70+ scores to take Australia home with ease.
In conversation with Firstpost's Vinayakk Mohanarangan, Ayaz gives his take on what went wrong for Dhoni. He also gives take on Shikhar Dhawan's precarious position in the side, Rohit Sharma's bad luck and the Indian spinners' struggles - all of which were discussed after the first match as well, but such is the nature of India's performance.
"The bowling performance hasn't improved at all," Ayaz said. "The batsman did extremely well. You have Rohit who made another 100, and played so well again. [Ajinkya] Rahane played a superb knock, so did Virat Kohli. And India make 308 and still go on to lose."
"The thing is Australia coasted to another win. People might argue India were short of another 20-25 runs, and in theory that's fine, but they would have still chased it down because the bowling is just not good enough."
Responding to Dhawan's position in the team, Ayaz thinks his time must surely be up now at the top India's batting order: "I think Dhawan has shut the door on himself for the series. India have the option of opening with Rahane or pushing Manish Pandey up top." Ayaz went on to say that it's time the team management takes Dhawan away from the firing line, for the team's sake and his own.
Ayaz also spoke about Dhoni's captaincy and how nothing seems to be working for him on the field, especially with his spinners. Ayaz was also full of praise for Australia again, talking about how a an inexperience side, experimenting with their bench strength still look as strong as ever.
Ahead of the third ODI, which now becomes a must-win match for India, Ayaz said it's time India dropped Dhawan and look at bringing one of the fresh faces in Rishi Dhawan or Gurkeerat Singh Mann.
Firstpost's Game plan with Ayaz Memon will be streamed live on Periscope and on Firstpost website at the end of each ODI of the series Down Under. Follow @FirstpostSports on Twitter for more details.
Match report: Australia thrash India in 2nd ODI
Brisbane: Australia rode on a strong batting performance to thrash an insipid India by seven wickets in the second One-Day International (ODI) at the Gabba here on Friday.
This was Australia's second consecutive win and the hosts have taken a 2-0 lead in the five-ODI series.
Chasing India's total of 308/8, the hosts rode on excellent displays by George Bailey (76 not out), Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh (both 71) to overhaul the target with an over to spare.
The Indian bowlers made the task easier for the hosts with an indisciplined performance, conceding as many as 12 extra runs (11 wides and a no-ball).
Indian opener Rohit Sharma took the Man of the Match award thanks to his second consecutive century of the series which helped the visitors post a big total. The Mumbai right-hander scored 127 off 124 deliveries with 11 boundaries and three sixes.
Ajinkya Rahane (89) and Virat Kohli (59) also made merry on a pitch which did not offer much assistance for the bowlers.
But the good performance by the Indian batsmen was cancelled out by the bowling attack which lacked any kind of sting.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (1/50), Ishant Sharma (1/60) and Umesh Yadav (1/74) picked up a wicket each, but the visitors seemed unable to prevent the Australians from scoring at a healthy rate.
Finch started off the Australian knock by hitting Sran for a couple of boundaries in the very first over. Ishant was no better at the other end, conceding back to back wides down the leg stump in his opening over.
Opening pacers Ishant Sharma and Barinder Sran were not able to make much of an impression on Australian openers Finch and Marsh, who played them quite comfortably.
The introduction of spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin also had no effect on the run rate as Finch and Marsh continued to score at a healthy rate. The visitors did themselves no favour by some shoddy fielding with Ajinkya Rahane and Sran dropping catches in the slips.
Finch and Marsh put together a 145-run stand for the opening wicket before Ajinkya Rahane pulled off a blinder at long-off off Jadeja's bowling to send the former on his way.
Marsh also did not last long after that. He was felled when he was surprised by the extra bounce of an Ishant delivery that took the top edge and Kohli took an easy skier at short cover.
Steve Smith looked set for a well-deserved half-century before being undone by some poor shot selection. The right-hander probably misread an incoming delivery from Yadav and did not connect with an attempted cut as the ball nicked his off-stump.
That saw Glenn Maxwell (26 not out) join George Bailey in the middle and the duo pulled the hosts over the line.
Earlier, Rohit slammed his second consecutive ton to guide India to a challenging total. This was his 10th ODI century and the fourth in Australia against the hosts. The Mumbai batsman had scored an unbeaten 171 in the first ODI.
En route to his 124-run knock, Rohit entered his name in the record books by becoming the third batsman to score back-to-back tons against Australia in Australia after England's Graeme Hick and India's V.V.S. Laxman. It is also the top score by an Indian opener at the Gabba, going past Sachin Tendulkar's 91 in March 2008.
James Faulkner (2/64), Joel Paris (1/40), John Hastings (1/46) and Scott Boland (1/64) were the pick of the bowlers for Australia.
Opting to bat first on a flat track where there was nothing much for the quicks, the visitors got off to a disappointing start as opener Shikhar Dhawan got himself out in a shameful fashion while trying to hit a delivery which was outside off stump, only to be caught by wicket-keeper Matthew Wade off the bowling of Joel Paris.
From there on, Kohli and Rohit took on the bowlers and posted a 125-run stand for the second wicket.
Both batsmen were looking good for yet another big score after striking half-centuries. But Kohli paid dearly for trying to sneak two runs in the last ball of the 24th over. A sharp throw rocketed back to Wade by Kane Richardson caught Kohli inches away from the crease to leave India at 134/2 in 23.5 overs.
Rahane then gave good company to Rohit as the duo notched up a 121-run partnership for the third wicket to help India cross the 250-run mark.
But Rohit's innings came to an end in the 43rd over in an unlucky manner. Rahane drove a slower delivery back at bowler Faulkner who manage to get a bit of his hand on it, to deflect the ball onto the stumps.
Thereafter, Rahane, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (11), Manish Pandey (6), Ravichandran Ashwin (1) and Ravindra Jadeja (5) all threw their wickets away while looking to step up the scoring rate.