By: Chandrashekar Bhat
MITCHELL STARC’S 5-53 and a blazing 66 by Mitchell Marsh helped Australia demolish India by 10 wickets in the second one-day international to level the series at 1-1 on Sunday (19).
Starc, a left-arm quick, rattled the Indian batting with his pace and swing to bundle out the opposition for 117 in 26 overs in Visakhapatnam.
Openers Travis Head (51) and Marsh, who smashed six sixes in his 36-ball blitz, then took apart the Indian bowling to romp home in 11 overs and level the three-match series with one game left.
Australia finished the chase with 39 overs to spare and bounce back from their opening loss.
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.
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.
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 sixes.
Marsh, who scored 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.