Australian batsmen yet again took the Indian bowling attack to the cleaners as they scored a massive 359 for five, equaling their highest ever total against India, in the second cricket ODI in Jaipur on Wednesday.
Led from the front by their skipper George Bailey (92 not out), the Australian batsmen made merry of a listless Indian attack on a good Sawai Man Singh Stadium track with as many as five of them notching up 50-plus scores.
This incidentally is Australia's highest total on Indian soil surpassing their previous best of 350 for four in Hyderabad in 2009. This total also equalled their highest ever total of 359 for two against India made during 2003 World Cup final in South Africa as well as 359 for four in a VB Series match in Sydney back in 2004.
Phil Hughes (83), Aaron Finch (50), Shane Watson (59) set up the platform for skipper Bailey and Glenn Maxwell (53) to finish the innings with a flourish.
Indian bowlers conceded 122 runs in the last 10 overs of the innings as Bailey and Maxwell sent the Indian attack on a leather-hunt putting on a staggering 96 runs in only 8.3 overs for the fourth wicket.
Bailey bludgeoned the Indian bowling as he faced only 50 balls in his unbeaten innings, hitting eight fours and five sixes.
Both Ishant Sharma (0/70 in 9 overs) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/54 in 10 overs) lacked penetration as both Finch and Hughes negotiated the duo with ease.
The third seamer R Vinay Kumar was guilty of bowling either too short or only slower deliveries and it only added to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's woes. Vinay (2/73 in 9 overs) had the worst figures among the pacers.
The worst among the Indian bowlers was though left-arm spinners Ravindra Jadeja (0/72 from 10 overs) and Yuvraj Singh (0/35 from four overs) and the duo gave away 107 runs in 11 overs between them. Ravichandran Ashwin (1/50 from eight overs) fared marginally better.
While Finch, as usual, was at his attacking best, Hughes complemented him by playing the second fiddle to perfection. Any width outside the off-stump was dealt with severity by Finch, who also pulled a slow bouncer from Vinay Kumar for a six to complete his second successive half-century of the series.
Just when it looked like the well-built Victorian was gearing up for a big knock, he failed to beat a direct throw from Suresh Raina stationed at mid-on. Finch scored 50 off 53 balls with seven fours and a six as the opening partnership again proved to be productive, yielding 74 runs.
Hughes took his own sweet time to settle down as he showed some assured footwork against spinners Ashwin and Jadeja. He completed his 50 off 68 balls and brought up the team's hundred with a big six over deep mid-wicket off Jadeja's bowling. His 83 came off 108 balls with eight fours and a six.
Once Finch was gone, Watson took over. He did not attack from the word go but once he settled down, the all-rounder was in a mood to punish India's 'spin twins'.
Both Jadeja and Ashwin were guilty of bowling a lot of half-trackers as Watson time and again rocked on his back-foot to punch it through the region between mid-wicket and deep mid-wicket. Even one of his unintended airy shot off Jadeja's bowling also went for maximum while Ashwin's short delivery was dispatched into the stands.
It was rush of blood that became Watson's undoing as he was finally dismissed for a quickfire 59 off 53 balls.
Having swatted a couple short balls from Vinay to the boundary, Watson failed to connect another rising delivery trying to hit a six as he was caught at the long-on boundary by Ishant.
Image: George Bailey