Steve Smith was at his diplomatic best, but his words after Australia’s historic thrashing of India on Sunday still added one more layer of humiliation for the hosts.
Even when trying to speak delicately after records collapsed throughout the 10-wicket victory, one moment of brutal honesty summed up India’s incredible capitulation.
Mitchell Starc was the executioner and finished with figures of 5-53, having wiped out India’s top order.
India’s batters had no answers to his wild, left-arm swing and were bundled out for just 117 in only 26 overs in Visakhapatnam.
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Openers Travis Head, who hit 51, and Mitchell Marsh, who smashed 66 off 36 balls, then took apart the Indian bowling to romp home in 11 overs.
Australia finished the chase with 39 overs to spare and bounce back from their opening defeat to hand India their biggest ODI loss in terms of balls remaining.
Smith’s casual reaction to such a carve up created plenty of chatter around India.
“It was a quick one,” he said when interviewed during the official post-match presentations.
“Only 37 overs in a game. You don’t see that too often.
“It was a nice start to the day. I didn’t know how the wicket was going to play. There was no real total in mind. It was about going out there and executing our skills and hopefully putting Indians under pressure, fortunately we were able to do that.
“It was one of those days and we were on the right side of it. Just that kind of a day when the nicks went to hand.”
Starc was also understated when accepting the man of the match award.
His five-wicket haul was the ninth of his career.
“It was a great day for us,” he said.
“I think the bowling unit was pretty spot on. I guess the conditions helped the ball swing a bit but I think we bowled really good areas. We were probably on the more aggressive side when we started to get a few wickets in the powerplay.”
Marsh, who stood out with his blazing knock that included six fours and six sixes, praised Starc.
“It was a pleasure to watch. You know what he can do with the white-ball, especially when he is swinging it. He is the best in the world,” said Marsh.
Two successive strikes from Starc to get returning skipper Rohit Sharma for 13 and then Suryakumar Yadav, out for a second straight first-ball duck, pushed India onto the back foot immediately.
He was supported well by Sean Abbott, who finished with 3/23 from six overs.
Virat Kohli (31 runs) was the only recognised batter to score more than 13 runs before Ravindra Jadeja (16) and Axar Patel (29) made a brief fight back.
It was India’s heaviest ODI defeat in terms of balls remaining.
The cricketing world was left staggered by the surprise collapse. India had been on a run of eight consecutive ODI victories.
“India seem to do this a bit in all formats,” former Australian captain Michael Clarke said on Monday.
“They’re on top. They’re playing well and then they just have a horrible performance.”
Indian captain Rohit Sharma said there were no excuses.
“It is disappointing. No doubt about that. We didn’t play to our potential,” he said.
“We didn’t apply ourselves with the bat. We always knew that was not enough runs. It was not a 117 pitch at all. We just didn’t apply ourselves.”
The total was India’s third lowest total against Australia.
It was India’s fourth lowest ODI score on home soil.
It was Australia’s third biggest victory in terms of balls remaining in a run chase.
The ODI series now moves to the decider in Chennai on Wednesday.
Smith takes ‘catch of the century’
Steve Smith pulled off one of the most spectacular slips catches you’ll ever see during India’s collapse.
Smith partly the show in the 10th over with a stunning catch to dismiss India superstar Hardik Pandya.
Pandya edged a length delivery from Sean Abbott into the slips cordon. Smith, who was standing at a conventional second slip position, dived full-stretch to his right and plucked the ball in his right hand close to the ground to dismiss Pandya for one.
TV commentator Sanjay Manjrekar cheekily suggested it could be the “catch of the century” – to which former Aussie short-form skipper Aaron Finch responded: “It’s not far off.
“An absolute blinder from Steve Smith,” former Aussie skipper Finch said on the broadcast.
“Who needs three slips when you’ve got Steve Smith standing there?
“He’s been known over the years to take them one-handed beauties. Last game there was a lot that just got to his fingertips, but this one … straight into the hand. Almost catches it behind him – brilliant.”
Former Indian quick Ajit Agarkar added: “I don’t think he could’ve gone any further. That; s at full stretch, one-handed, flying to his right.
“You’ll never get tired of watching that.”
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