Australian pacer and ‘Man of the Match’ Mitchell Starc said the early inroads he made into the Indian batting lineup during powerplay made his bowling partners attack more aggressively, resulting in the hosts being bundled out for 117 in just 26 overs during the second ODI in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. India suffered one of their worst ODI defeats against Australia with the visitors winning the match by 10 wickets to level the series 1-1 after Starc had wiped out the entire top order in powerplay. The left-arm pacer grabbed four wickets in powerplay overs and returned figures of 5/53 for the match as Australia levelled the series 1-1.
“Look, it was a complete bowling performance from us, the fact that we took powerplay wickets allowed us to attack even more throughout the innings,” said Starc, who took his ninth five-for in ODIs.
He said the attacking intent while batting was also because India had been bundled out for a below-par total. Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head minted fours and sixes during the 121-run unbeaten partnership as Australia finished the job in just 11 overs.
“With a lower total to chase, we could be aggressive in the powerplay and Mitch (Marsh) and Trav (Travis Head) came off really well with the bat,” he said.
Starc likened the pitch at the YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium to Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, where Australia were bowled out for 188 on a seaming wicket and India too lost wickets in cluster at the top before winning by five wickets.
“It was similar to Mumbai in the fact that there was no scoreboard pressure on the chasing team at any stage,” Starc added.
Starc exposed the Indian batters’ frailties against quality left-arm pace bowling by swinging the ball into them. Suryakumar Yadav was sent back by the lanky quick for a second successive first-ball duck.
Asked if he had a plan for Surya, Starc said, “I cannot say if I have thought it that way (as to) who is the batter at the other end. For me, the plan does not change if it is a left-hander or a right-hander, I am still trying to bowl fast and swing it and hit the stumps,” he said.
Starc said there were no specific plans against the Indian right-handers. “My plan has not changed for 13 years, which is to bowl full at the stumps and try to swing it in. I think that has just been my role to try and take wickets upfront in the powerplay and that means that I tend to bowl fuller lengths than some other guys like Cameron Green or Pat (Cummins) or Josh (Hazlewood),” he said.
“At times that means I am more expensive but I am trying for a dismissal, so certainly (did) not (have) a new game plan in the last two games. It is something that I have done for a long time, be aggressive and take wickets and, today, our whole bowling attack did that, when we had six wickets in the powerplay.
“That is a big step forward in one-day cricket, when you have a powerhouse batting unit like India have. If you can take wickets in the powerplay that means you can control the game to some respect,” Starc added.
The Australian pace spearhead said the side was focused on winning the series in in Chennai and it was not too much obsessed with ODI World Cup preparations right now.
“A few of us have been here to get accustomed to conditions. With one eye on the World Cup in particular conditions and against India, that is one by-product of the series,” he said.
“This is still (an ongoing) series against India, which we want to win. We move to Chennai for the decider which is exciting. Once we are past that game there will be more focus on the World Cup. (There are) parts of the series with the World Cup on your mind but predominantly for this group, there is a chance to win a one-day in India which is pretty special,” he concluded.
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