After an embarrassing 10-wicket loss to Australia in the second ODI, India captain Rohit Sharma admitted that his batters never managed to apply themselves with the bat, leading to them being bowled out for 117.
Left-arm fast-bowler Mitchell Starc emerged as the main architect in Australia bundling out India for their fourth-lowest total at home, claiming his ninth five-wicket haul in ODI cricket, to end India's innings in 26 overs, as the hosts were given their heaviest defeat in terms of balls left (234 balls).
Starc, who had picked a three-fer in the first ODI in Mumbai, produced yet another stunning exhibition of swing bowling to scythe through the top order and then took out Mohammed Siraj to finish with 5-53.
Sean Abbott was excellent in his 3-23 while Nathan Ellis provided great support through 2-13 as all of Australia's fast bowlers shared the ten Indian wickets. In a highly-disappointing batting performance, India lost four wickets in the Power-play for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand.
Four batters fell for ducks as only Virat Kohli and Axar Patel could go beyond 25. "It is disappointing. No doubt about that. We didn't play to our potential. We didn't apply ourselves with the bat.
We always knew that was not enough runs. It was not a 117 pitch at all. By no means. We just didn't apply ourselves." "(Starc) is a quality bowler. He's been doing it for years for Australia with the new ball.
He kept bowling to his strength and we kept falling to his strength. That's something that we need to understand and play accordingly. All their bowlers bowled really well and put us under pressure," said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Australia skipper Steve Smith was a happy man as his team outplayed India in all departments of the game. In chasing 118, the opening pair of Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head slammed unbeaten quickfire fifties, thrashing the Indian bowlers all around the park to chase down the total in 11 overs.
"It was a quick one. 37 overs for the game, you don't see that too often. I thought our bowlers were outstanding. Mitchell Starc in particular with that new ball swinging it back down the line and putting them under early pressure and he complimented really well with the rest of our bowling group."
"I didn't know how the wicket was going to play and how much it was going to swing. The way Mitch and Heady went out and went after them was impressive. Putting them under pressure.
When you're chasing 118 you can break the back of it really quickly," he concluded. With the series scoreline at 1-1, India and Australia will face off in the decider at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.