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Melbourne T20I: Match abandoned, Australia still lead

Irrespective of terrific bowling efforts from Indian seamers, the second rain-hit T20I against Australia was called off at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Friday.

Taking full advantage of the swinging track, Indian bowlers produced an impressive performance to restrict Australia to a moderate 135 runs in a rain-hit 19-overs contest. For ‘Men in Blue’, pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-20), Khaleel Ahmed (2-39) and Jasprit Bumrah (1-20) gave India some early breakthroughs, while spinners Kuldeep Yadav (1-23) and Krunal Pandya (1-26) also chipped in later to deny a chance to settle for the Australian batting order.

Bhuvneshwar set the tone right as he scalped the big wicket of Australian skipper Aaron Finch for a duck in the very first over with a good length delivery going wide outside the off stump, which deceived the right-hand batsman and went straight to the wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.

Australia could only manage to add 26 runs more before losing another wicket in the form of the solid-looking Chris Lynn. The right-hand batsman was caught at deep point off a slower delivery by Khaleel. Following Lynn, opener D’Arcy Short, who was holding on to the crease for some time now, completely failed to understand a quicker delivery of Khaleel and departed back to pavilion at the score of 14 runs.

Bumrah, who consistently maintained his line and length, joined the party and picked up the wicket of Marcus Stoinis who could only contribute four runs to his team’s total. Stoinis was followed by Glenn Maxwell’s dismissal, who at the score of 19 runs, got beaten by a quick delivery from Pandya.

With almost all of the Australian specialists back in the pavilion, the tailenders could not sustain themselves on the pitch for a long. While spinner Kuldeep quickly wrapped up the four-run innings of wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile was dismissed by Bhuveneshwar for 18 runs.

Australia take a 1-0 series lead with one more game to go on November 25 at Sydney Cricket Ground.

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