A complete batting performance from Australia saw all of their top five batsmen cross 50. Steve Smith's second successive hundred was the major driving force behind the hosts posting 389/4, and a 3-wicket haul from Pat Cummins derailed India's chase.
Virat Kohli's men opted to not make any changes to their playing XI for this game, and the decision backfired. Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal, both of whom were taken for runs in the 1st ODI, were poor yet again. Hardik Pandya making an appearance with the ball helped the Indian cause, but they were thoroughly outplayed by Australia.
Here are 3 mistakes that cost India the 2nd ODI against Australia.
#3 India failed to go after Australia's fifth bowler
Unlike India, Australia have a number of all-rounders that they can call upon if one of their frontline bowlers has an off-day. Apart from three pacers in Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, and one spinner in Adam Zampa, Aaron Finch can also call upon Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques and Marnus Labuschagne.
India missed a trick by not going after the fifth bowler. Henriques, who took a leaf out of Hardik Pandya's book and sent down a number of off-pace deliveries into the pitch, bowled 7 overs for just 34 runs. Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer played out the all-rounder, and were happy to rotate strike and keep the scoreboard moving.
However, despite the fact that they would've been effectively out of the chase had they lost a wicket, India should've taken the attack to Henriques. With Starc also in poor form, Henriques being taken for runs would've forced Finch to bring in Glenn Maxwell earlier to bowl to two right-handers.
It must be said that Iyer did try to take on the 33-year-old, but pulled a rank long-hop to mid-wicket, where Steve Smith plucked a superb catch.
#2 India's bowlers didn't hit the right lengths consistently enough
The Indian bowling was under the scanner coming into this game, and they did nothing to assuage concerns that the attack has lost its potency, especially with the new ball.
Jasprit Bumrah, who has taken only 3 wickets in 8 ODIs in 2020, couldn't threaten Aaron Finch and David Warner once again. Mohammed Shami, who has been decent in the recent past and has served as the leader of the pace attack, had only one breakthrough to show far. Navdeep Saini conceded 70 runs in his 7 overs, while Yuzvendra Chahal didn't look like picking up wickets at all.
The main reason behind their lack of success was that they didn't hit the right lengths consistently enough, and they took too long to realise that the pitch in the SCG offers help only when the ball in banged into the pitch.
Often too full, India's bowlers didn't take the pace off and bowl back of a good length, which as Hardik Pandya proved later, was very hard to get away. Bumrah and Shami might be rested for the next game to bring the likes of Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan in, but they need to get back to their best at the earliest.
#1 India's batsmen threw away their starts
The biggest reason behind Australia's wins in the last two ODIs has been the success of their top order, with almost all batsmen crossing fifty and one or two going on to make hundreds as well.
India, on the other hand, have thrown away their starts. Shikhar Dhawan scored a 23-ball 30 before perishing trying to hoick Josh Hazlewood across the line, while Mayank Agarwal was prised out by Pat Cummins just as he looked like getting settled.
Virat Kohli was the only man who managed to make something out of a start, as Shreyas Iyer found mid-wicket off a rank long-hop from Moises Henriques. KL Rahul tried his best with the required run rate mounting, but it was clear that the failures of the top order had already put the game to bed by then.
In the absence of Rohit Sharma, either Shikhar Dhawan or Mayank Agarwal should've played the role of the anchor and batted through the innings. And after they were dismissed, Iyer should've given his captain company at least till the end of the second powerplay.
Although India were slightly more smart in their approach against the new ball when compared to the 1st ODI, they were far from the formidable batting side of the recent past.