Australia’s stand-in skipper, Steve Smith, proved his exceptional fielding skills once again during the second ODI against India on Sunday.
Smith’s outstanding catch to dismiss Hardik Pandya was a sight to behold, leaving not only Indian skipper Rohit Sharma but also the cricketing world in awe.
With Mitchell Starc taking five wickets to bundle out India for a meager 117, it was Smith’s acrobatic catch that stole the limelight.
Pandya got a thick edge on a delivery from Sean Abbott, and the ball seemed too far from Smith at the slips.
However, the veteran Australian cricketer pulled off a full-length dive to his right, and his superhuman effort left Rohit Sharma and other teammates in the dressing room completely stunned.
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The commentators were also left speechless by Smith’s brilliant fielding, and ex-India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar even suggested that it could be considered the “catch of the century.”
Starc made the most helpful conditions to claim 5 for 53.
His ninth five-wicket haul in ODIs, along with a fine display from Sean Abbott (3/23) and Nathan Ellis (2/13), gave the Indian batters no chance to settle down with the ball seaming and swinging prodigiously.
Virat Kohli (31) and Axar Patel (29 not out) were the only batters to cross the 20-run mark.
The Indian batting line-up struggled against Australia’s disciplined bowling attack, and the visitors were in complete control throughout the match.
The Australian batsmen, in turn, easily chased down the target, registering the victory in just 11 overs with all ten wickets intact.
Captain Steve Smith was all praise for his team’s outstanding performance, especially the bowlers, who put the Indian batsmen under tremendous pressure.
He singled out Mitchell Starc’s brilliant spell with the new ball, which fetched him a fifer, and paved the way for an easy win.
“Starc, with the new ball, put them under pressure. It was a nice start to the day. It was one of those days, and we were on the right side of it,” said Smith in a post-match presentation.
With this victory, Australia leveled the three-match series 1-1, setting up an exciting decider in the final ODI.
The visitors will be hoping to carry their winning momentum into the final game, while India will be looking to bounce back and clinch the series.
The third and final ODI is set to take place on 13th March at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi, and it promises to be an exciting encounter between two top-class teams.