Pune: Tight bowling and fifties from Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik helped India secure a series-levelling six-wickets victory against New Zealand in the second One-day International (ODI) on Wednesday.
Opener Dhawan top-scored with 68 and Karthik remained not out on 64 down the order as the hosts reached the 231-run victory target with four overs to spare at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
There was drama before the match when the ground curator was suspended following a TV sting operation in which he allegedly agreed to tamper with the wicket.
Indian bowlers, especially new ball colleagues Bhuvneshwar Kumar (three for 45) and Jaspreet Bumrah, laid the foundation for their comprehensive victory by restricting New Zealand to 230 for nine after the tourists opted to bat.
On a slow track, the pace duo combined slower balls with bouncers, conceding 83 runs in 20 tidy overs while sharing five wickets between them.
New Zealand were reduced to 58 for four in the 16th over and none of the touring batsmen managed a 50, crawling to the 100 mark in 26 overs.
Following their poor start, Tom Latham (38) and Henry Nicholls (42) tried to rebuild the Kiwi innings and Colin de Grandhomme subsequently made 41 off 40 balls to lend some respectability to the New Zealand total.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed de Grandhomme and Adam Milne off successive deliveries but New Zealand, who won Sunday's series opener in Mumbai by six wickets, somehow avoided being bowled out in the contest.
India lost Rohit Sharma early in their reply but Dhawan added 57 runs with skipper Virat Kohli to help them overcome the early loss.
Kohli fell for 29 but the left-right combination of Dhawan and Karthik thwarted the tourists, mixing caution with aggression during their 66-run association.
Dhawan, who was adjudged caught behind on 46 before the decision was overturned, hit five boundaries and a couple of sixes before falling to Milne.
Karthik then combined with Hardik Pandya, who chipped in with a 30-run cameo, to keep India on course, and Karthik went on to hit Tim Southee for his fourth boundary to seal India's victory.
Kanpur hosts the third and deciding one-dayer on Sunday.
M. Guptill c M.S. Dhoni b B. Kumar 11
C. Munro b B. Kumar 10
K. Williamson lbw J. Bumrah 3
R. Taylor c Dhoni b H. Pandya 21
T. Latham b A. Patel 38
H. Nicholls b B. Kumar 42
C. de Grandhomme c J. Bumrah b Y. Chahal 41
M. Santner c V. Kohli b J. Bumrah 29
A. Milne lbw Y. Chahal 0
T. Southee (not out) 25
T. Boult (not out) 2
Extras (lb-3, w-5) 8
Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) 230
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-25, 3-27, 4-58, 5-118, 6-165, 7-188, 8-188, 9-220.
Bowling: B. Kumar 10-0-45-3 (w-1); J. Bumrah 10-2-38-2; K. Jadhav 8-0-31-0 (w-1); H. Pandya 4-0-23-1 (w-2); A. Patel 10-1-54-1 (w-1); Y. Chahal 8-1-36-2.
R. Sharma c Munro b Southee 7
S. Dhawan c Taylor b Milne 68
V. Kohli c Latham b de Grandhomme 29
D. Karthik (not out) 64
H. Pandya c Milne b Santner 30
M. Dhoni (not out)18
Extras (lb-7, w-9) 16
Total (4 wkts, 46 overs) 232
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-79, 3-145, 4-204.
Did not bat: K. Jadhav, A. Patel, B. Kumar, J. Bumrah, Y. Chahal
Bowling: T. Southee 9-1-60-1; T. Boult 10-0-54-0 (w-3); A. Milne 8-1-21-1 (w-1); M. Santner 10-0-38-1; C. de Grandhomme 7-0-40-1 (w-1); C. Munro 2-0-12-0 (w-2).
Umpires: Chettithody Shamshuddin, Rod Tucker
TV umpire: Michael Gough
Match referee: Chris Broad