2nd ODI: Starc's five-fer, fifties from Marsh, Head power Australia to series-levelling victory
Visakhapatnam, March 19 (IANS) A tremendous display of spectacular hitting from Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head coupled with Mitchell Starc's ninth five-wicket haul helped Australia power to a series-levelling victory with a ten-wicket thrashing of India in the second ODI at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
After Starc, who had picked a three-fer in the first ODI in Mumbai, produced yet another stunning exhibition of early swing bowling to scythe through the top order and then took out Mohammed Siraj to finish with 5-53 to bowl out India for 117, Marsh and Head thrashed Indian bowlers all around the park to chase down the total with 39 balls to spare.
The result meant the series scoreline is now at 1-1, with the series decider to be held in Chennai on Wednesday. For India, who lost four wickets in Power-play for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand, this was a highly disappointing outing in all departments of the game.
Four batters fell for ducks as India crashed to their fourth-lowest total at home. With the ball, they were just relentlessly thrashed by Marsh and Head as Australia completely outplayed them in every aspect.
In chasing 118, Head and Marsh were able to give a powerful start to Australia. While Head clipped and flayed off Siraj for a brace of fours in the second over, Marsh continued from where he left off in the first ODI at Mumbai.
He began by punching Mohammed Shami between cover and point for four, followed by lofting over mid-on in the third over. He welcomed Siraj by standing tall to flay past cover before Head pulled a short ball off him through square leg for the second four of the fourth over.
Marsh continued his dominance by flicking, punching and pulling Shami for two fours and a six in the fifth over. Head took it to another level by pulling Siraj twice, apart from flicking and punching for four straight boundaries in the sixth over as Australia reached 66/0.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel's introduction in the seventh over couldn't stop Marsh as he creamed a drive through cover for four. He then welcomed Hardik Pandya in the next over by slamming a six down the ground, followed by clubbing back-to-back sixes over deep mid-wicket and long-on to reach his fifty in just 28 balls.
Head feasted on Axar's deliveries with a cut through point and whipped past short fine leg to get back-to-back boundaries as the opening partnership raised its century in just 8.5 overs. Marsh welcomed Kuldeep Yadav by pulling him to the second tier over deep midwicket for six before Head went back to pull through the same region for four.
After being dropped by Shami running in from long-on, Head got his fifty in 29 balls. Marsh finished off the chase in 11 overs with a square drive through point off Axar for four to complete Australia's thrashing of India with 234 balls to spare.
India 117 all out in 26 overs (Virat Kohli 31, Axar Patel 29 not out; Mitchell Starc 5-53, Sean Abbott 3-23) lost to Australia 121 for no loss in 11 overs (Mitchell Marsh 66 not out, Travis Head 51 not out) by ten wickets