ADELAIDE: Virat Kohli produced another batting masterclass before India spun Australia out of control in a 37-run victory in Tuesday night’s Twenty20 fixture.
Kohli plundered an unbeaten 90 from 55 balls as India posted 188-3 at Adelaide Oval, then India’s tweakers were pivotal in bowling Australia out for 151 in 19.3 overs.
Spinners Ravi Ashwin (2-28) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-21) triggered a game-defining collapse from on track at 89-1 in the ninth over, Australia were derailed and lost their last nine wickets for just 62 runs.
Ashwin and Jadeja claimed the initial four wickets in Australia’s slump as they hosts went from 89-1 to 110-5 in a 27-ball span.
Captain Aaron Finch top-scored with 44 from 33 balls but was the only Australian batsman to make an imprint Steve Smith (21) was the only other to pass 17.
The Indians, propelled by vice-captain Kohli, emphatically took a 1-0 lead in the three-game series ahead of matches in Melbourne on Friday and Sydney on Sunday.
Kohli pounded nine fours and two sixes in his knock, punishing Australia’s fast bowlers.
Express quick Shaun Tait conceded 45 runs in four wicketless overs which included six wides and fellow pacemen James Faulkner (1-43) and Kane Richardson (0-41) were also expensive.
Only evergreen Shane Watson, who thought his international days had ended when he last played for Australia last September, stemmed the flow.
Watson finished with 2-24 from four overs, striking with his first ball and again four balls later.
But Australia couldn’t contain Kohli, who reached his half-century from 32 balls and featured in a telling partnership with Suresh Raina (41 from 34 deliveries).
The pair put on a 100 runs from 68 balls en route to a 132-run stand which was only broken in the final over.
Australia’s reply with the bat began soundly with Finch and David Warner taking 47 runs from the initial five overs before the latter fell for 17.
Finch and Smith then looked promising in a 42-run union but Smith’s dismissal to Jadeja started the home side’s slide.