Down 0-1 in the three-match series, Australia won the toss and bowled first in the second ODI. Left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc ran through the Indian batting line-up with figures of 5/53 in eight overs. Starc dismissed Shubman Gill (0), Rohit Sharma (13), Suryakumar Yadav (0) and KL Rahul (9) in a deadly first spell. He then came back to clean up Mohammed Siraj (0) to pick up his ninth five-wicket haul in ODIs.
After India were bowled out for 117, the Australian openers chased down the target in merely 11 overs. Mitchell Marsh returned unbeaten on 66 off 36 and Travis Head on 51 off 30. While the bowlers also failed to make any impact, Rohit laid the blame of the embarrassing defeat totally on the batters.
Speaking to the media after the game, he opined, “We did not bat well. It was not the pitch where we could have gotten out for 117. We didn’t apply ourselves. When you lose a couple of wickets early, it’s important to create a partnership or two so that you can get back into the game.
“When you have only 117 runs on the board, the (opposition) batters have nothing to lose other than to come and try and swing the bat,” Rohit added on Australia’s blazing chase.
Apart from Starc, other left-armers like Shaheen Afridi, Trent Boult and Mohammad Amir have also troubled India in international cricket. However, Rohit did not read too much into the observation. He said, “When you have a quality bowler in the opposition, he is bound to take wickets. He is trying his best to get your best players out. Whether it’s a left-armer or a right-armer, they will get wickets. The right-armers have troubled us well, nobody talks about it.
“We don’t look too much into the left-arm or the right-arm - wickets are wickets. If you lose wickets, it is a concern. We will look into all sorts of things: how we are getting out, what we need to do, how we can come up with better plans, better methods against the seamers,” he continued.
Apart from Starc, Sean Abbott (3/23) and Nathan Ellis (2/13) also came up with impressive contributions with the ball. With the three-match series tied 1-1, India and Australia will meet in the decider in Chennai on Wednesday, March 22.
--By A Cricket Correspondent