Nagpur: Vijay Shankar, India’s all-rounder who helped India secure an eight-run victory over Australia in the second of the five-match ODI said he was waiting to produce a match-winning performance all his life.
“I was literally waiting for the opportunity. After the 43rd over I was telling myself I am going to bowl the last over, and I am going to defend it,” Shankar said after the match.
Shankar had only bowled one over in the match before captain Virat Kohli decided to bring him on in the final bowler in which he was tasked with protecting 11 runs. The bowler did not disappoint his captain as he dismissed the danger man Marcus Stoinis off the very first all of the over.
“I was ready for the challenge because I knew I had to bowl that one over, I was just telling [myself] after the 43rd-44th over, I am going to bowl anytime – maybe the last over – and I should be ready to defend a total of 10 or 15 runs. I was mentally prepared for that.”
Virat Kohli said that he was looking to bowl Shankar in the 46th over of the match, but after discussing with MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma he decided to bowl Bumrah and Shami first and then bring in Shankar for the final over.
“I was thinking [to bowl Shankar in the] 46th over, but again, I spoke to Rohit [Sharma], I spoke to MS [Dhoni] and both of them said [we] might as well take the game to the last over; with Shami and Bumrah, [if] they get us a few wickets, we’ll be right in the game,” Kohli said during presentation ceremony.
Shankar also played an important knock of 46 runs earlier and he stitched together a partnership of 81 runs with Virat Kohli enabling the team to post 250 runs on the board.
Kohli, scored his 40th century in the ODI format, becoming just the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to score 40 centuries in the ODI format.
India would now hope to win the third ODI as well and take an unassailable lead in the series.
India takes on Australia in the third ODI of the five-match series on Friday, March 8 at Ranchi.