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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

India hopes of levelling T20 series against Australia ruined by rain

Hosts struggled to 132-7 in Melbourne before weather ended chances of a result in the second match of the series

KL Rahul of India, right, fields during the T20 match between India and Australia as fans watch on under umbrellas. EPA
KL Rahul of India, right, fields during the T20 match between India and Australia as fans watch on under umbrellas. EPA

India's bid to level their Twenty20 series with Australia was ruined by rain on Friday, with the match in Melbourne abandoned after the home team struggled to 132-7.

Australia won a nail-biting first match in Brisbane by four runs, with the third and final game in Sydney on Sunday, but the weather means India now can no longer win the series.

On a cold, overcast day Australia were unable to build any meaningful partnerships, with Ben McDermott their top scorer on 32 before the skies opened and they were forced off after 19 overs.

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed took two wickets each.

Several attempts were made to restart the game, with the covers coming off and then going on again before the umpires finally called it off.

The win in Brisbane had been a confidence-booster for an Australia team that have only won six of their last 23 internationals.

They were hoping to keep the momentum going but got off to the worst possible start after Virat Kohli won the toss and put them into bat in front of a boisterous 65,000-strong crowd.

Aaron Finch was out first ball, with the Australia captain edging a Kumar delivery to Rishabh Pant behind the wicket who took a simple catch.

The explosive Chris Lynn began swinging his bat soon after coming in, including a trademark six, but he didn't last long and sliced a ball to deep point where he was comfortably caught by Krunal Pandya.

It left Australia in trouble at 27-2 after four overs and it got worse when D'Arcy Short chopped a ball onto his wicket from Ahmed. He was gone for 14 and Marcus Stoinis then fell for four.

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Glenn Maxwell, who plundered an impressive 46 in the first match in Brisbane, looked in good early nick but he couldn't repeat his antics and was bowled by Pandya for 19.

Australia's batsmen were making poor shot choices and couldn't get a partnership going with Alex Carey the next to depart, caught by Pandya off spinner Kuldeep Yadav as he went for a big hit.

Nathan Coulter-Nile, in the team at short notice after paceman Billy Stanlake turned an ankle in the warm-up, smacked a huge six off the first ball he faced and got another before he too was out.

Alex Tye joined McDermott in a cameo to add some desperately-needed late runs before rain forced them off with an over left.