The floodlights at the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam were yet to be in full glow when Australia restored parity in the ODI series on Sunday.
The ball moved and swung, maybe a little bit more due to overnight rain and overcast conditions early morning in Visakhapatnam.Mitchell Starc exploited them quite well and that was good enough to rattle Team India.
Led by Starc (5/53), who did the job he had left unfinished in the first one-dayer in Mumbai, Australia bundled India out for 117 with the home team’s famed batting line-up lasting just 26 overs after being put into bat.
Thereafter, Mitch Marsh (66 not out off 36 balls), continuing from where he left off at the Wankhede, and his opening partner Travis Head (51 not out off 30 balls) pulverised the Indian bowlers as Australia raced home with all 10 wickets in hand and as many as 234 balls remaining.The 100-over game was done and dusted in just 37 overs.
India may still go on to win this series if they prevail in Wednesday’s decider in Chennai, but this defeat should make the team management and the stalwarts in the batting line-up sit up and introspect.More so, with the 50-over World Cup less than seven months away.
The surface did have some assistance for the quicks.But when India batted, the overhead conditions were far brighter than what they were expected to be.It’s just that the batters had no answer to the ones Starc swung into them.
Also, is there a lack of focus? Such a question arises as it appeared a few of them repeated the mistakes made in the previous game.
Shubman Gill, as he had done last Friday evening, again played a poor shot to give catching practice to Marnus Labuschagne at point.Suryakumar Yadav, out for a king pair — that too, trapped lbw by Starc in a similar manner to his dismissal in Mumbai — was once again nowhere near the line of the ball that was swinging in.
KL Rahul had braved Starc and played the rescue act in the series opener, but on this occasion, the left-arm quick got just an extra bit of inward movement that proved to be too good for Rahul.
The situation could have been better for India had captain Rohit Sharma (13) and Virat Kohli (31) been a little more prudent with their shot selections.However, the top order’s weaknesses getting exposed frequently in conditions that are a wee bit challenging is becoming a serious concern.
But it seems Australia are yet to devise a method to get Axar Patel (unbeaten on 29) out, or else India could have fallen well short of 100.