Starc’s five-for breaks India’s back to bowl them out for 117

Starc’s five-for breaks India’s back to bowl them out for 117

26 overs India 117 (Kohli 31, Starc 5-53, Abbott 3-23) vs Australia

At first, the ticket holders for the second ODI in Visakhapatnam thought the game would never happen because of the overnight rain on Saturday and more expected on Sunday. And soon the joy of home fans seeing the rain cease on Sunday morning turned into agony as India crashed to 117 all out inside only 26 overs after being put in to bat.

The chief tormentor was Mitchell Starc, who for the second game in a row produced a remarkable new-ball spell. This time he sent back four of the top-five batters and then picked the final wicket to take his ninth wicket-wicket haul in ODIs. Sean Abbott and Nathan Ellis joined hands in between to run through the middle and lower order. In all, the Australian bowlers were done with their shift inside two hours and 20 minutes, with the three seamers sharing all ten wickets.

It all started from the toss, where Steven Smith said the covered Visakhapatnam surface could help seamers up top. Shubman Gill was the maiden wicket in the first over when he drove a full ball from Starc away from his body and hit it straight to point in what was a repeat of his dismissal from the Mumbai ODI.

It took a loose shot from Rohit Sharma, returning to the side in place of Ishan Kishan, in the fifth over to give Starc his second wicket. Rohit had moved to 13 by relying on leg-side flicks, but then chased a wide ball from the left-arm quick to find first slip. The openers might have fallen with two loose shots, but what followed was a masterclass in swing bowling to break India’s back.

Suryakumar Yadav walked in looking to make up for his first-ball duck from the first ODI, but he suffered the same fate when Starc pitched it up, got the ball to swing in, and get him lbw for another golden duck. KL Rahul briefly hung around with Virat Kohli, but the half-centurion from the previous game was also trapped lbw by Starc with a swinging delivery that got him missing a shot across the line.

At 48 for 4, India needed a recovery job, but that wouldn’t come. Abbott got a length ball to Hardik Pandya to bounce more, and the batter poked at it only to see Smith take a stunning one-handed diving catch at first slip to rock them further.

Along with Ravindra Jadeja, Kohli tried to resurrect the innings. But Kohli was trapped lbw by Ellis when, on 31, he swiped across the line to a full ball, and didn’t bother reviewing the on-field decision. Ellis then came around the wicket to get Jadeja guiding a catch to the wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

The responsibility of taking India to triple-digits then fell on Axar Patel’s shoulders. He was circumspect at first alongside Kuldeep Yadav as India went past 100. But when Kuldeep and Mohammad Shami fell in quick succession to Abbott, Axar realised the end was coming soon.

He smacked Starc for back-to-back sixes but ran out of partners in the end. The No. 11 Mohammed Siraj became Starc’s fifth victim after seeing his off stump rattled, and Australia went into the break needing 118 to win and level the ODI series.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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