India found themselves on the end of a comprehensive trouncing at the hands of Australia in their second ODI in Visakhapatnam. After being put into bat, they were bowled out for just 117 inside 26 overs.
Australia reached their victory target without losing a wicket, and with 39 overs of their innings still to be bowled.
It was Australia’s biggest margin of victory in an ODI against India.
The results means that the three match series is now level, and it is all set-up for the decider in Chennai on Wednesday.
India welcomed back captain Rohit Sharma, who had missed the first match in Mumbai for family reasons, with Ishan Kishan dropping out the side. Meanwhile, Axar Patel was preferred to Shardul Thakur.
Australia made two chances, with Nathan Ellis replacing Glenn Maxwell, who reported feeling sore after Mumbai, whilst Alex Carey was fit enough to takeover wicketkeeping duty from Josh Inglis.
David Warner, who needs just 10 to bring up 100 ODI runs against India, was again not fit enough to play.
Although the pitch had a reputation for being a good batting track, the fact that it had been under cover for some time, and that there was the threat of rain in the air, made the toss a good one to win.
In the event, it was Steve Smith, the Australian captain, who got the decision, and he had no hesitancy in choosing to bowl first.
The tourists reaped almost immediate dividends, as Shubman Gill fell off just the third ball, to Mitchell Starc, and, four overs later, Starc claimed two more victims in successive balls, accounting for both Rohit and Suryakumar Yadav.
The middle order had helped dig India out of trouble in the first ODI, but they were unable to repeat the trick on this occasion, KL Rahul giving Starc a fourth scalp, whilst Hardik Pandya fell to Sean Abbott.
Virat Kohli had an excellent record on this ground, having hit previous ODI centuries here, but he was out top scoring with 31 to Ellis, who also claimed the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja.
Patel offered some late resistance, making an unbeaten 29, but he ran out of partners in the end, with Australia ruthlessly mopping up the tail.
India’s final total of 117 all out was their fourth lowest in ODIs, and their lowest ever against Australia in this format of the game.
Starc led the bowling honours, taking 5 – 53, whilst Abbott finished with 3 – 23, and Ellis 2 – 13. The seamers did all the damage, as Australia only used two overs of spin.
India needed to take quick wickets if they were to have any chance of pulling off a miracle, but Australia had decided to adopt a positive mindset from the start, and their opening pair of Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh wasted no time in attacking the bowlers.
They were on the front foot from the start and just blasted their way to victory.
Marsh continued his fine form from Mumbai by making an unbeaten 66 of 36 balls, including 6 sixes and 6 fours, whilst Head was comparatively more sedate, finishing on 51 not out, with 10 fours to his name.
Head was dropped by Mohammed Shami, but, by then, the dye was well and truly cast, and the result was a foregone conclusion.
The shell shocked crowd, who had turned out expectant of another fine display from the home side, in the end saw just 37 overs of play.
Player of the Match
Not surprisingly Starc was named Player of the Match who took full advantage of the helpful conditions, getting the ball to swing away from the batters. That was his ninth five wicket haul in ODI cricket.
What happens next
The two sides will now travel to Chennai for what will be the decider in the series on Wednesday.
The psychological edge may now have swung to Australia after such a comprehensive victory. India will need to just try and compartmentalise this match and treat it as a bad day at the office.
With the World Test Championship Final in mind, though, Australia will have taken note about how the Indian batters struggle when the ball swings, especially as English conditions in June are likely to offer overhead assistance.
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