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Aus level ODI series as Starc, Marsh and Head pulverise India

Aus level ODI series as Starc, Marsh and Head pulverise India

By BD Naraayannkar
Visakhapatnam, Mar 19 (UNI) India were blown away not by rains, but the hurricane fifties of Australian openers and mesmerising bowling of Mitchell Starc as the visitors pulled off a 10-wicket win against the hosts to level the three-match ODI series at Dr YSR Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium here on Sunday.
The Indian batting looked wayward as Starc and Sean Abbot used the swinging ball like a machete to rip open the scars of the home side.
Mitchell Marsh further rubbed salt to the wounds of India with his unforgiving flogging while chasing. The hosts were never in the game once they lost the toss.
India were skittled out for only 117 runs even as weathermen predicted thundershowers at some point of the match. The total was not for any kind of defence, and expectedly Australian openers massacred Indian bowlers all over the park.
Marsh and Travis Head notched up unbeaten knocks of 66 and 51, respectively.
Marsh batted freely without any pressure as he smacked 6 sixes and as many boundaries in his 36 balls knock. This propelled Head too who took the Indian attack to the cleaners.
Australia wanted an early finish and achieved the target with 39 overs to spare.
India outplayed lock, stock and barrel. Their batting was chaotic and bowling horrendous. The Indian bowlers expected a miracle to happen on a seaming wicket, but it turned into a sleeping beauty in the second innings.
Earlier, making the most of some early swing, Starc put up a sterling performance by taking five wickets and bundling out India cheaply in 26 overs, which was the third lowest ODI total against Australia and fourth at home.
Starc was simply fabulous as he ended with figures of 5/53 in 8 overs, which was his ninth five-fer in ODIs. He is now behind Pakistan's Waqar Younis who took 13 five-fers and and Sri Lanka's offspinner Muttaiah Muralitharan took 10.
Starc was ably helped by pacers Sean Abbot and Nathan Ellis who picked up 3/23 and 2/13, respectively. It just took 2 hours and 20 minutes for them to put a lid on India's innings.
Starc made good use of the windy conditions to destroy the Indian top-order. The hosts lost Shubman Gill (0) on the second ball of the match in the similar manner he got out in the first ODI in Mumbai. He pushed hard straight into bucket hands of Marnus Labuschagne at backward point off Starc.
Rohit (13) also chased hard on the drive and got a thick outside edge off Starc. Smith crouched at first slip and juggled before taking it on the second attempt.
Suryakumar Yadav was out for back-to-back golden ducks. He was bamboozled by an in-swinging delivery from Starc. SKY tried to on-drive and was comprehensively beaten on the inside edge and was trapped plumb in front of the wicket.
KL Rahul suffered a similar fate on a DRS at the hands of Starc. The last ODI batting hero could muster only 9 runs.
India lost four inside the powerplay for the first time since the 2019 World Cup semifinal, and it was Starc doing all the damage.
Hardik Pandya (1) was out to an absolute corker at first slip by Smith off Abbot. The Aussie captain dived full-length to his right and took a one-handed catch in the air.
And just as it looked like a partnership could be building between Virat Kohli (31 off 35) and Ravindra Jadeja (16), Ellis stepped up and got both batsmen out within three overs.
Axar Patel was looking strong, but found no support from the tail as Abbott was re-introduced to clean up the tail.
Then Starc got back to knock down Mohammad Siraj (0) and complete his five-fer.
Brief scores: India 117 in 26 overs (Virat Kohli 31, Axar Patel 29*; Mitchell Starc 5-53, Sean Abbott 3-23) lost to Australia 121 for no loss in 11 overs (Mitchell Marsh 66*, Travis Head 51*) by 10 wickets.

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