Mitchell Starc produced one of the best bowling spells as he dismantled the Indian batting line-up, bundling Men in Blue for 117 in the second ODI match of three-match series at YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
The veteran Australian fast bowler broke the opening partnership in his third ball and the first over of the match. Starc lured Shubman Gill to play a shot in the offside. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli tried to overcome the early loss and switched to attacking mode. Their plan of the onslaught on Australian bowlers did work well for some time.
However, Starc made a comeback in the fifth over of the match. The Indian skipper Rohit Sharma lost his wicket in a similar fashion, and Starc once again lured Rohit Sharma to play a shot on the offside. The Indian opener tried to play a cover drive but his bat only met the dust, and the edge of his bat met the ball. The ball travelled straight to Steve Smith at a lightning pace, but the Australia skipper didn't make any mistake as he adjusted himself in a split second and held on to the ball.
After Rohit Sharma's wicket, the Blues started to lose wickets at regular intervals. Virat Kohli held on to his wicket at one end but the rest of the players found it hard to adjust to the pitch conditions.
After dismissing the Indian skipper in his very next ball Starc dismissed Surya Kumar Yadav with a beautiful inswinging delivery. Surya completely failed to read the ball and it ended up striking his pads right in front of the wicket. KL Rahul became Starc's fourth victim. Expectations were high from KL Rahul after his performance in the last match. However, this time he failed to understand the ball, his bat came down quite late. He tried his luck by taking a review but it was in vain.
Hardik Pandya stepped in to steady the sinking ship of the Indian team but his intentions were not enough. Sean Abbott dismissed Pandya with some help from Steve Smith. The Australian skipper made a terrific effort to reach the ball and hold onto it.
After watching his comrades Nathan Ellis joined the party by dismissing the set batter Virat Kohli for 31(35). In the end, Axar Patel made a valiant effort to keep the scoreboard ticking and take his team to a defendable score. His two consecutive sixes against Mitchell Starc were the highlight of the match.
But Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj failed to support Axar. Starc picked up the final wicket of Siraj and completed his five-wicket haul. India ended their innings with a score of 117.
Brief scores (Virat Kohli 31(35), Axar Patel 29(29)* and Mitchell Starc 5/53) vs Australia. (ANI)