A masterful five-for from Mitchell Starc tore through the Indian batting line-up before Australia’s openers picked off the required runs with ease, as India suffered a record ODI defeat.
Starc’s eight-over spell, in which he took five wickets for 53 runs, proved too much for four of India’s star-studded top order – Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav and the in-form KL Rahul – and was his ninth ODI five-for as India were bowled out for 118.
This expert display of late-swing new-ball bowling means Starc is only one five-for behind second placed Muttiah Muralidaran, and four off the all-time leader Waqar Younis in the list of most ODI five-wicket hauls. He is now level with compatriot and former international teammate Brett Lee, as well as Shahid Afridi.
It is worth noting that Starc has picked up this staggering number of ODI five-wicket hauls in substantially fewer matches than the others in the leaderboard – he has played just 109 matches, in comparison to Waqar (262), Muralidaran (350) and Lee (217). Unsurprisingly, his average is superior as well, with his 219 wickets coming at just 21.78.
Starc’s trademark in-swinger to the right-handed batsman was particularly destructive, with KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav falling prey lbw. Suryakumar fell for a first-ball duck, the exact same fate suffered in Mumbai.
The pick of the dismissals was that of Hardik Pandya, whose flashing outside edge was snaffled by a leaping Steve Smith to take a marvellous catch.
Having suffered a five-wicket loss in the first ODI, collapsing from 129-2 to 188 all out, Australia bounced back assuredly in Visakhapatnam with bat in hand. India succumbed to their biggest loss by balls remaining, with the Aussies chasing their target after 11 overs (234 balls remaining), with their openers’ wickets still intact.
Mitchell Marsh picked up where he left off, after top-scoring with 81 in the first ODI – striking with consummate ease and freedom on his way to 66* from 36 – while Travis Head responded well to strike 51* from 30 deliveries.
It is the first time Marsh has hit consecutive half-centuries in his nearly-12-year ODI career.
No bowler was safe from Marsh and Head’s hitting, with Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav bowling one over each for 18 and 12 runs respectively. Mohammed Siraj finished with figures to forget (0-37 from his 3 overs).
It was Australia’s third largest margin of ODI victory by balls remaining, behind their defeats of the USA in 2004 and the West Indies in 2013.
The win could have been even more emphatic, if not for all-rounder Axar Patel’s ball-hitting at the back end of India’s brief innings, including back-to-back sixes over the head of the in-form Starc on his way to 29* off as many balls.
The third and final ODI will be played in Chennai on Wednesday to decide the series.