Visakhapatnam, March 19 (IANS) There was a scare of the second ODI at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium failing to start due to heavy rain being forecast for the day. Thankfully, the match began on time, much to the joy of fans in the stadium.
But the spirits were dampened as it turned into a horror show for India as the hosts crashed to 117 all out in 26 overs after being asked to bat first. Left-arm fast-bowler Mitchell Starc emerged as the main architect of Australia bundling out India for their fourth-lowest total at home, claiming his ninth five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.
Starc, who had picked a three-fer in the first ODI in Mumbai, produced yet another stunning exhibition of early swing bowling to scythe through the top order and then took out Mohammed Siraj to finish with 5-53. Sean Abbott was excellent in his 3-23 while Nathan Ellis provided great support through 2-13.
If India’s highly disappointing batting wasn’t enough, then the bowlers were made to look utterly pedestrian by the tremendous display of spectacular hitting by the opening pair of Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head. The left-right duo thrashed Indian bowlers all around the park to chase down the total with 39 overs to spare, making it the heaviest defeat for the hosts in terms of balls left.
The result meant the series scoreline now stands at 1-1, with the decider to be held in Chennai on Wednesday. India had a game which they would like to delete from their memory forever.
They couldn’t handle pace and swing from Starc, losing four wickets in Power-play for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand. Four batters fell for ducks as only Virat Kohli and Axar Patel could go beyond 25. With the ball, they were just relentlessly thrashed by Marsh and Head as Australia completely outplayed them in all departments of the game.
Starc’s stellar show began from the first over, with Shubman Gill slashing a full and wide delivery straight to point. Rohit Sharma, coming in for Ishan Kishan, clipped him through square leg for four on the last ball of the opening over.
He and Virat Kohli took a boundary each off Cameron Green’s half-volleys in the next over, before the latter drove and clipped off Starc in the third over. Starc bounced back in the fifth over, enticing Rohit to chase a wide delivery and a thick outer edge was caught by Steve Smith at first slip.
On the very next ball, Starc’s inswinger comprehensively beat Suryakumar Yadav on the inside edge to trap the right-hander lbw for a second straight golden duck. The inswinger from Starc then took out KL Rahul, who looked to flick, but was struck on the front pad in front of the stumps.
India lost their fifth wicket in the tenth over when Hardik Pandya pushed away a Sean Abbott delivery without any footwork and Smith dived to his right to take a one-handed screamer of a catch with his right hand.
There was no respite for India as Nathan Ellis struck on his second delivery in the 16th over, trapping Kohli lbw with a straighter delivery while trying to play across the line. Four overs later, Ellis had his second wicket when his good length delivery got extra bounce and took the thick edge off Ravindra Jadeja’s gloves to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
Axar and Kuldeep Yadav tried to put up some resistance. But Abbott lured Kuldeep into pulling to square leg. On the very next ball, Mohammed Shami poked at a full delivery and nicked behind to Alex Carey.
Axar smacked Starc for delightful sixes down the ground and backward square leg in the 26th over. But the left-arm pacer ended the over by rattling Mohammed Siraj’s top of off-stump to complete a fantastic five-wicket haul.
In chasing 118, Head clipped and flayed off Siraj for a brace of fours in the second over. Marsh continued from where he left off in the first ODI at Mumbai, starting by punching Shami between cover and point for four, followed by lofting over mid-on in the third over.
He welcomed Siraj by standing tall to flay past cover before Head pulled a short ball from him through square leg for the second four of the fourth over. Marsh’s dominance continued by flicking, punching and pulling Shami for two fours and a six in the fifth over.
Head took it to another level by pulling Siraj twice, apart from flicking and punching for four straight boundaries in the sixth over. Axar’s introduction in the seventh over couldn’t stop Marsh as he creamed a drive through cover for four.
He then welcomed Hardik by slamming a six down the ground, followed by clubbing back-to-back sixes over deep mid-wicket and long-on to reach his fifty in just 28 balls. Head feasted on Axar’s deliveries with a cut through point and whipped past short fine leg to get back-to-back boundaries as the opening partnership raised its century in just 8.5 overs.
Marsh welcomed Kuldeep Yadav by pulling him to the second tier over deep midwicket for six before Head went back to pull through the same region for four. After being dropped by Shami running in from long-on, Head got his fifty in 29 balls. Marsh finished off the chase in 11 overs with a square drive through point off Axar for a boundary to complete Australia’s drubbing of India.
India 117 in 26 overs (Virat Kohli 31, Axar Patel 29 not out; Mitchell Starc 5-53, Sean Abbott 3-23) lost to Australia 121 for no loss in 11 overs (Mitchell Marsh 66 not out, Travis Head 51 not out) by 10 wickets