'I don't know about catch of the century!' – Steve Smith pulls off a cracker as Australia trample India

By Sports Desk March 19, 2023

Steve Smith brushed off the personal plaudits and hailed the efforts of Mitchell Starc and Australia's openers after a 10-wicket trouncing of India on Sunday.

The tourists dominated in Visakhapatnam to level their three-match ODI series at 1-1, bowling out India for 117 in 26 overs before taking just 11 overs to pick off their target.

Victory at YS Raja Reddy Cricket Stadium sets up a decider in Chennai on Wednesday, with India's nine-match winning run in home ODIs having been brought to a halt.

Australia pace spearhead Starc took 5-53 in a dazzling display, before Mitchell Marsh (66 not out) and Travis Head (51 not out) made it a rout.

Smith made a stunning catch to dismiss Hardik Pandya midway through India's innings, diving away to his right at first slip to give Sean Abbott (3-23) a wicket.

That prompted Smith to be asked about whether it could be considered a "catch of the century", but he appeared slightly bemused by the suggestion.

"I don't know about catch of the century," he said at the post-match presentation. "It was nice I held on today.

"I had a couple of opportunities in the last game that were quite similar and they were just out of reach. I couldn't get my hand quite around it, but I was fortunate I was able to do that today.

"It was a big wicket, Hardik's an unbelievable player, so it was nice to hang on to it."

This match rapidly got away from India, who had won the series opener by five wickets.

"It was a quick one – 37 overs for the game, you don't see that too often," Smith said. "I thought our bowlers were outstanding this afternoon. Mitchell Starc in particular with that new ball swinging it back down the line and putting them under early pressure.

"He complemented really well with the rest of our bowling group and it was a nice start to the day. It was one of those days when every time they nicked it, it went to hand. Fortunately we were on the right side of it."

The batting went well too.

"The way that Heady and Mitch went out and went after against the bowlers, put them under pressure early. When you're chasing 118 you can break the back of it pretty quickly," Smith said. "It was a really good day, and I'm really proud we managed to bounce back after the last game."

India captain Rohit Sharma said his team let themselves down.

"We always knew that was not enough runs on the board," Rohit said. "Obviously it was not a 117 pitch at all. By no means. We just didn't apply ourselves and kept losing wickets. That didn't allow us to get the runs we wanted."

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