Kohli key in India's series-clinching victory


Virat Kohli once again played an integral role as India clinched an unassailable 2-0 lead in their Twenty20 International series against Australia with a 27-run win in Melbourne.

After a T20I career-best 90 not out in Adelaide, Kohli (59 not out) notched his 11th half-century in the shortest format to take the tourists to 184-3.

As in the first match, captain Aaron Finch led the hosts' response, making 74 from 48 balls before he succumbed to a hamstring injury and was run out, and a fragile middle order limped to 157-8 from their complement of overs.

Australia handed T20I debuts to bowling trio Nathan Lyon (0-15), Andrew Tye (1-28) and John Hastings (0-35) in six changes from the 37-run loss at the Adelaide Oval.

Hastings' maiden appearance got off to a woeful start as Shikhar Dhawan (42) and Rohit Sharma (60) smashed him for 17 in just his second over.

The India openers continued to sting the hosts' bowling attack - James Faulkner (0-35) letting 27 runs slip in his opening two overs - and Dhawan set a new career-best T20I haul as part of a strong 97-run partnership with Rohit.

Glenn Maxwell (1-17) finally made the breakthrough for the hosts when Dhawan picked out Chris Lynn at point, but Rohit passed 50 two balls later.

However, Kohli, who entered to a rapturous ovation from the crowd, quickly stole the show, settling into his rhythm immediately as, once again, Hastings took a battering in conceding a trio of fours in the 14th over.

Tye produced some useful death bowling, but Australia were left chasing another daunting total.

Finch led Australia's response in emphatic fashion and brought up his half-century off 27 balls with a brutal hit over deep mid-wicket.

India coughed up three chances to get Shaun Marsh out cheaply but, once the opener was out on 23, the middle order folded behind him as Lynn (2) and Maxwell (1) followed in successive overs.

Australia's slim hopes evaporated as Faulkner (10) was the victim of a freak stumping when his inside edge rebounded off Dhoni's pad and crashed into the stumps - after Finch appeared to injure himself as he was run out.

The hosts are now winless in three T20 games, with time running out to find form and a settled team ahead of March's World Twenty20.