VISAKHAPATNAM: Mitchell Starc returned figures of 5-53 with his excellent swing and seam to power Australia to a series-levelling 10-wicket win over India in the second One-day International here on Sunday.
Starc, a left-arm quick, rattled the Indian batting with his pace and swing to bundle out the opposition for just 117 in only 26 overs.
Openers Travis Head, who hit 51, and Mitchell Marsh, who smashed 66 off 36 balls, then took apart the Indian bowling to romp home in 11 overs.
Australia finished the chase with 39 overs to spare and bounce back from their opening defeat to hand India their biggest ODI loss in terms of balls remaining.
Starc led the team’s lethal attack with the wicket of Shubman Gill for a duck after the tourists decided to bowl first after overnight rain.
“It was a great day for us,” man-of-the-match Starc told broadcasters Star Sports.
“I think the bowling unit was pretty spot on. I guess the conditions helped the ball swing a bit but I think we bowled really good areas. We were probably on the more aggressive side when we started to get a few wickets in the powerplay.”
Marsh, who stood out with his blazing knock that included six fours and six sixes, praised Starc.
“It was a pleasure to watch. You know what he can do with the white ball, especially when he is swinging it. He is the best in the world,” said Marsh.
Two successive strikes from Starc to get returning skipper Rohit Sharma for 13 and then Suryakumar Yadav, out for a second straight first-ball duck, pushed India onto the back foot.
KL Rahul played out the hat-trick ball but lasted for just 11 more deliveries before falling leg-before wicket to Starc, who returned figures of 4-31 in his first spell of six overs.
Skipper Steve Smith took a stunning one-handed catch at first slip to dismiss Hardik Pandya for one off the bowling of Sean Abbott, who took three wickets.
Smith went full stretch to his right and was airborne when he took the catch off an edge from Pandya, setting social media abuzz with praise for his “superman” effort.
Virat Kohli attempted to hit back for India with a score of 31 that included four boundaries before he was trapped in front by Nathan Ellis.
Wickets kept tumbling and the departure of Ravindra Jadeja, the hero from Friday’s first match in Mumbai, for 16 off the bowling of Ellis added to India’s woes.
Starc wrapped up the innings with his ninth ODI five-wicket haul. Axar Patel, who came into the team in place of Shardul Thakur, was unbeaten on 29 after hitting two sixes.
“He is a quality bowler. He’s been doing it for years for Australia with the new ball,” Rohit said of Starc. “We kept falling to his strength. Failure was from our batsmen.”
The left-handed Head and Marsh came out firing as they smashed Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami to all parts of the ground.
Head began the attack with two straight boundaries off Siraj and Marsh soon joined the charge with a string of fours and huge sixes, one of them into the second tier of the packed stands.
Marsh, who hit 81 in his team’s opening loss, hit two straight sixes off Pandya to reach his fifty off 28 balls.
Head soon raised his fifty and Marsh hit the winning boundary to take the series decider to Chennai on Wednesday.
R. Sharma c Smith b Starc 13
S. Gill c Labuschagne b Starc 0
V. Kohli lbw b Ellis 31
S. Yadav lbw b Starc 0
K.L. Rahul lbw b Starc 9
H. Pandya c Smith b Abbott 1
R. Jadeja c Carey b Ellis 16
A. Patel not out 29
K. Yadav c Head b Abbott 4
M. Shami c Carey b Abbott 0
M. Siraj b Starc 0
EXTRAS (LB-2, NB-1, W-11) 14
TOTAL (all out, 26 overs) 117
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-3 (Gill), 2-32 (Rohit), 3-32 (S. Yadav), 4-48 (Rahul), 5-49 (Pandya), 6-71 (Kohli), 7-91 (Jadeja), 8-103 (K. Yadav), 9-103 (Shami)
BOWLING: Starc 8-1-53-5 (5w), Green 5-0-20-0 (1w), Abbott 6-0-23-3 (2w), Ellis 5-0-13-2 (3w, 1nb), Zampa 2-0-6-0
T. Head not out 51
M. Marsh not out 66
EXTRAS (W-4) 4
TOTAL (no wicket, 11 overs) 121
BOWLING: Shami 3-0-29-0 (3w), Siraj 3-0-37-0 (1w), Patel 3-0-25-0, Pandya 1-0-18-0, K. Yadav 1-0-12-0
RESULT: Australia won by 10 wickets.
Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2023