Conceding a whopping total and then battling to score against spin again stung Australia as India secured a comfortable Twenty20 victory at the MCG - and with it a guaranteed series victory.
T20: India take a 2-0 series lead
A batting collapse from Australia hands India the T20 series victory with a game remaining.
A fine innings from captain Aaron Finch (74 off 48) was to no avail as his team squandered a 94-run opening partnership.
Chasing India's 3-184, the visitors' spinners were again pivotal in the middle overs. The home team finished 8-157, giving the visitors a 27-run victory in front of a crowd of 58,787 that comfortably favoured them.
Australia's preference to prepare for next week's one-dayers in New Zealand, ahead of stability ahead of the World Twenty20, was evident in the resting of Steve Smith and David Warner ahead of them departing on Saturday morning.
Those changes were just a taste of what was to come. They were followed out of the team from Australia day by four others – Travis Head, Kane Richardson, Cameron Boyce, Shaun Tait – as six players were included: Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, John Hastings and debutant trio Scott Boland, Andrew Tye and Nathan Lyon.
That the latter was a debutant was incongruous given his status in the Test team and the fact he came to prominence in the Big Bash League.
His hopes of cementing a spot in Australia's 15-man squad for the World Twenty20 were hindered first by conceding 15 runs from his first over, and then because captain Finch did not bowl him again.
Finch's decision to send India in started positively after they kept the visitors to 0-12 from the first three overs. But Australia's position changed markedly after Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma started swinging lustily – and connecting. They added 65 runs over the next six overs to again set India on the way to a big score.
It was not that Australia bowled badly. It was more so that all of India's batsmen looked completely untroubled. While they regularly found the boundary – they hit 17 fours and five sixes – Dhawan in particular showed deft touch to hit the ball softly enough into gaps to get twos, as the boundary-riders had to sprint in to collect the ball, instead of ones.
The only three wickets Australia claimed for the innings were due to India's mistakes: Dhawan for 42 after picking out Chris Lynn with a reverse sweep, Rohit Sharma for 60 after a running mix-up saw him stranded at the same as end as Kohli, and captain M.S. Dohni caught on the long-on boundary in the final over.
The latter was a deserved maiden international wicket for Tye, who was the best of Australia's bowlers in conceding only 28 runs and two boundaries across his four overs, which included two at the death. Shane Watson (0-17 off three overs) did his job, too.
It was a sign of Kohli's superb record in Australia that he could make an unbeaten 59 from 33 balls, with only six dots, without it being particularly noteworthy.