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Australia claim ODI series




A second century in as many matches for Steve Smith has helped Australia to a 51 run win over India at the SCG to claim the series with a match to spare on Sunday night.


Smith's 11th ODI century set up a mammoth total of 4-389, India unable to challenge the target despite half centuries from skipper Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.


Australia will however face an anxious wait on the fitness of opening batsman David Warner, who left the field in the fourth over with an adductor injury and faces a race against time to be fit for the start of the Test series in less than three weeks time.


In sweltering temperatures pushing 40 degrees Celsius Australian captain Aaron Finch won the toss and chose to bat first, India's bowling attack still licking their wounds from the first One Day International where they conceded a score of 6-374.


Those wounds were opening up further thanks to another century stand from openers Finch and Warner, adding 142 for the first wicket.


Finch fell for 60 to Mohammed Shami, but Warner looked set for a big score as he regularly found the boundary against a lacklustre Indian bowling attack.


A moment of brilliance from Shreyas Iyer in the field saw Warner run out, taking on Iyer's throw from deep long on and beaten by a direct hit at the non-strikers end.


From there Smith took centre stage, driving powerfully and punishing anything overpitched as he continued to have the Indian bowlers at his mercy.


Smith added 136 runs with Marnus Labuschagne as Virat Kohli's side struggled for any sort of control on a flat pitch, the former Australian captain's ton arriving off 62 balls, the same amount of deliveries as he faced to reach his century in the first ODI on Friday.


Smith struck 14 fours and two sixes in a breathtaking knock before departing to Hardik Pandya, who made a surprise return to the bowling crease after recent back surgery.


Labuschagne made 70 before Glenn Maxwell rounded things out with a cavalier 63 from 29 balls to push the total to a massive 4-389.


India's chase got off to a rollicking start through openers Shikar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal, but fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins struck in consecutive overs to leave India 2-60.


Kohli and Iyer added 93 before the returning Moises Henriques had the latter superbly caught by Smith at midwicket for 38.


Playing his first ODI since 2017 Henriques then came up with a sensational catch of his own in the same position to dismiss Kohli for 89, the Indian captain having looked set to record his 44th one day international century.


KL Rahul tried to give his team a chance at victory with a 66 ball 76, but miscued Adam Zampa to short third man to signal the end of India's hopes.


They would finish on 9-338, Cummins with three wickets and two each for Hazlewood and Zampa, Mitch Starc going wicketless and conceding 82 runs from his nine overs in a slight concern for the Australian side.


The other worry is the fitness of Warner, who dived for a ball in the field at mid-off in the fourth over and appeared to suffer a groin injury, the severity set to be determined by scans.


The win gave Australia their first home ODI series victory since 2016-17 against Pakistan, Smith man of the match for his 104.


The third and final ODI of the series takes place in Canberra at Manuka Oval on Wednesday.


IMAGE: ABC.