Monday 23 October 2017 / 12:37 AM

NEWCOMER’S OPENING SPELL SETS UP EMPHATIC AUSSIE WIN

Australia have levelled their Twenty20 International series against India courtesy of an emphatic eight-wicket win in the second clash at Guwahati.

India staggered to 118 all out in 20 overs after a stunning opening spell from Aussie newcomer Jason Behrendorff, before Moises Henriques and Travis Head steered the tourists to victory with four and a half overs to spare.

Playing in only his second T20I – and after bowling just one over on debut in the series opener – Behrendorff produced a dream first over, responding to a pair of Rohit Sharma boundaries by trapping the star opening lbw then dismissing captain Virat Kohli caught-and-bowled two balls later.

The 27-year-old Western Australia rep reduced India to 4/27 in the fifth over after getting rid of Manish Pandey and Shikhar Dhawan.

MS Dhoni (13), Kedar Jadhav (27) and Hardik Pandya (25) led a mini-fightback, but spinner Adam Zampa claimed all three batsmen as the hosts limped to 8/103 in the 18th over.

Australia’s chase began equally poorly with experienced opening pair David Warner (2) and Aaron Finch (8) departing inside three overs.

But Henriques (62 not out off 46 balls) and Head (48 not out off 34) halted the bowler domination in splendid style, blasting nine fours and five sixes between them in an unbeaten 109-run, 13-over stand.

Both big-hitting guns posted their highest score in T20Is to guide Australia to a comfortable win, but it was Behrendorff’s decisive 4/21 performance at the beginning of the match that secured man-of-the-match honours.

The archrivals will meet in the third and deciding match at Hyderabad on Friday.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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