Mitchell Starc once again turned out to be tormentor-in-chief as his five wicket haul blew away India for a lowly 117 against Australia in the second ODI, here on Sunday.
Starc, who had three wickets in the previous game, took 5 for 53 in eight overs, including four in his first spell as India were bowled out for their third lowest total against Australia, in just 26 overs.
With nip off the surface providing lot of help, Starc bowled ideal back-of the length deliveries with a couple angled across the right-handers and a few which came in after pitching.
The decisive damage was done by Starc while Sean Abbott (3/23) and Nathan Ellis (2/13) then bowled hard lengths to run through the lower-middle order in what turned out to be a disastrous day for the hosts.
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Virat Kohli did hold one end up for a while with a 35-ball 31 and Axar Patel scored an entertaining unbeaten 29 studded with two sixes off Starc.
Their innings were the only bright spots for India with their batting exposed once again by swing and pace.
Australia pace spearhead Starc claimed four wickets in his opening spell of 6-1-31-4, removing Shubman Gill (0), Rohit Sharma (13), Suryakumar Yadav (0) and KL Rahul (9) to leave India in tatters, and their extended batting line-up consisting of Ravindra Jadeja (16) and Patel could not trouble the scorers much.
On what appeared to be a flight deck here, for the second time in the series India were off to a poor start with Starc causing the maximum damage inside the first five overs, finding swing but no seam movement with overcast conditions and strong wind blowing across throughout the first innings. After getting Shubman Gill (0) caught at point in the first over, he ended Kohli and Sharma’s rebuilding act in the fifth over. Sharma flashed hard but was caught at first slip by Smith, who grabbed the moving ball in more than one attempt, and Starc struck again on the next delivery trapping Yadav leg-before for a second consecutive first-ball duck in this series. The left-arm pacer continued making inroads into the Indian batting line-up, striking once again in the ninth over to trap KL Rahul (9) leg-before.
The batsman, after consultation with Kohli went upstairs, but DRS confirmed the field umpire’s call and India were left reeling at 48/4 inside nine overs. There was no respite for India with Australia right-arm pacer Abbott producing an outside edge off the first ball in the 10th over, and Smith took a stunning one-handed diving catch on his right to make Hardik Pandya’s (1) trip to the middle a very short one. Kohli and Jadeja did stop the flow of wickets for India with their 22-run sixth-wicket stand, but the introduction of Nathan Ellis brought another wicket. The right-arm fast bowler, playing only his fourth ODI, got the key wicket of Kohli, pinning him in front of the wickets for a 35-ball 31 with four hits to the fence. Jadeja was caught behind off Ellis and the Indian tailender didn’t last long as Starc bowled an unplayable delivery to Mohammed Siraj to clip the off-bail.