In Australia's ten-wicket drubbing of India in the second ODI, left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc emerged as the wrecker in chief. On a pitch which was under covers due to rain threat, Starc scythed through the Indian top-order and then castled Mohammed Siraj to claim his ninth five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.
Starc, who had picked a three-fer in the first ODI in Mumbai, produced yet another stunning exhibition of swing bowling to finish with 5-53. He began by taking out openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma on wider deliveries, before trapping Suryakumar Yadav and KL Rahul lbw with fantastic inswingers and closing India's innings at 117 with Siraj's scalp.
"The role I play is being slightly fuller and more attacking than the other guys which in turn can be not as economical. A bit more expensive but I think it brings in all the dismissals a bit more."
"I feel like my rhythm has been good for a few weeks now and I guess the last couple of nights I've got the ball to shape in the air and do a little bit off the wicket so it's feeling in a good place and hopefully it continues," said Starc in post-match presentation ceremony after getting Player of the Match award.
Also read | 2nd ODI: Starc's five-fer, fifties from Marsh, Travis Head power Australia to series-levelling win
Starc has also levelled with Brett Lee for the most five-fers by any bowler for Australia in ODIs. Starc's nine five-wicket hauls are the joint-third most for any bowler in ODIs, levelling with Pakistan's Shahid Afridi. He is now only behind Pakistan fast-bowling great Waqar Younis (13) and legendary Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (10).
Starc's five-fer, coupled with Sean Abbott's three-fer and Nathan Ellis taking two scalps meant chasing 118 became a walk in the park for Australia, thanks to Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head bringing out a stunning display of strokeplay to reach the target in 11 overs. While Marsh was not out on 66, Head was unconquered on 51.
"It was a bit of fun. When you're chasing a short total like that it's always important to get off to a good start. I was actually hoping Heady would get off to a flyer so I could nick and nudge them around. But we both got going and it was a lot of fun," said Marsh.
"It's been nice to contribute. It was really good to get a partnership going. We were a bit more settled today. (In the) Last game I went a bit hard early and tried to push the envelope a little bit but it's nice to have the big fella at the other end when he hits them into the top tier," added Head.
Also read | 2nd ODI: Starc five-fer, Abbott's three-fer help Australia bowl out India for 117
With the three-game series scoreline now at 1-1, India and Australia will now face off in the decider game at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.