Steve Smith was at his diplomatic best, but his words after Australia’s historic defeat by India on Sunday still added another layer of humiliation for the hosts.
Even as he tried to speak delicately after records tumbled during 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, wiping out India’s top order.
The Indian batsmen had no answers to his wild left-arm swing and were bundled out for just 117 in just 26 overs in Visakhapatnam.
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Debutants Travis Head, who hit 51, and Mitchell Marsh, who smashed 66 off 36 balls, then tore apart the Indian bowling and cruised home in 11 overs.
Australia completed the chase with 39 to spare and bounced back from the first loss to hand India their biggest ODI loss in terms of balls remaining.
Smith’s casual reaction to such a separation caused much chatter across India.
“It was quick,” he said when interviewed during the official post-match presentations.
“Only 37 overs in the game. You don’t see that too often.
“It was a nice start to the day. I didn’t know how the wicket would play. There was no real total in mind. It was about going there and bringing our skills and hopefully putting the Indians under pressure, luckily we were able to do that.
“It was one of those days and we were on the right side. Just such a day when nicks went hand in hand.”
Starc was also underrated when collecting 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 has been pretty good. I guess the conditions helped the ball swing a bit, but I think we bowled really good areas. We were probably more aggressive when we started getting some wickets in the powerplay.”
Marsh, who stood out with his brilliant knock that included six fours and six sixes, praised Starc.
“It was a pleasure to watch. You know what he can do with the cue ball, especially when he swings it. He’s the best in the world,” Marsh said.
Two back-to-back strikes from Starc to get returning skipper Rohit Sharma to 13 and then Suryakumar Yadav, off the second successive first-ball effort, immediately put India on the back foot.
He was ably supported by Sean Abbott, who finished with 3/23 from six overs.
Virat Kohli (31 runs) was the only recognized batsman to score more than 13 runs before Ravindra Jadeja (16) and Axar Patel (29) responded briefly.
It was India’s heaviest ODI defeat in terms of balls remaining.
The cricketing world was stunned by the sudden collapse. India were on a streak of eight consecutive ODI victories.
“India seem to be doing it a bit across all formats,” former Australia captain Michael Clarke said on Monday.
“They are on top. They play well and then they just have a terrible performance.”
Indian captain Rohit Sharma said there are no excuses.
“It’s disappointing. There is no doubt about it. “We didn’t play up to our potential,” he said.
“We didn’t apply with a bat. We always knew that wasn’t enough running. It wasn’t 117 pitch at all. We just didn’t apply.”
The total was the third lowest total by India against Australia.
It was India’s fourth lowest ODI score on home soil.
It was Australia’s third biggest win in terms of balls remaining in the run.
The ODI series now shifts to the deciding match in Chennai on Wednesday.
Smith takes ‘catch of the century’
Steve Smith produced one of the most spectacular catches you will ever see during India’s collapse.
Smith partially ended the show in the 10th over with a stunning catch to dismiss Indian superstar Hardik Pandya.
Pandya tucked a length delivery from Sean Abbott into the slips cordon. Smith, standing in a conventional second slip position, dived to his right and pulled 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 Australian skipper Aaron Finch replied: “Not far off.
“Absolute blindside from Steve Smith,” former Australia captain Finch said in the broadcast.
“Who needs three slips when Steve Smith is standing there?
“For many years he was known for taking them with one-handed beauties. In the last game, there was a lot that just fell within his grasp, but this one…right into his grasp. He almost catches it behind him – brilliant.”
Former India quick Ajit Agarkar added: “I don’t think he could have gone further. That; are at full stretch, with one hand, fly to the right.
“You’ll never get tired of watching it.”