Visakhapatnam, March 19 (IANS) India captain Rohit Sharma admitted that his players did not apply themselves well during the first innings of the second ODI against Australia, where they were bowled out for a paltry 117 in just 26 overs. He added that the nature of the pitch wasn’t the one where teams would get out for that score.
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. Then, openers Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh slammed rollicking fifties to chase down the total in 11 overs, giving India 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 took ten Indian wickets.
In a highly-disappointing batting performance, India lost four wickets in Power-play for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand. Four batters fell for ducks as only Virat Kohli and Axar Patel could go beyond 25.
“It has been a good ground for us but unfortunately, we didn’t bat well today. We didn’t apply ourselves and it wasn’t a pitch to get out for 117. Even when you lose a couple of early wickets, it is important to create a partnership or two so that you can get back into the game.”
“I don’t think we batted well enough and that was a failure from our side from a batting perspective. When you have only 117 on the board, the batters have nothing to lose, and then try to swing the bat and get off to a good start.”
“Once that happens, they keep putting the pressure on. At times, we have done that like in England when we had to chase 110 and we did it in 12 or 13 overs if I am not wrong. Today’s failure was from our batsmen,” said Rohit in the post-match press conference.
Sunday’s match was also the second successive time India’s top order failed to get going after being dismissed cheaply in the first ODI in Mumbai. Moreover, Starc’s five-fer showed that the Indian batting order continues to struggle in countering left-arm pacers, into which Rohit refused to look further.
“This is just two games that the top order has not done too well. It has been literally on fire in the last six games we played. Lot of the top-order batters have got big runs in the previous games. When we need to look into it, we will definitely do it but right now it’s not the time.”
“When you have a quality bowler in the opposition, he is bound to take wickets. He is obviously trying his best and it doesn’t matter whether it is a left-arm or a right-arm bowler. Right-armers have troubled us too, but nobody talks about it.”
“If we lose wickets it is a concern — whether it is to a right-hander or a left-armer is not the issue. We look into all sorts of things like how we are getting out and come up with better plans, methods etc. That’s about it and honestly, it’s just two games that the top order hasn’t done well.”
Moreover, in the absence of Shreyas Iyer due to a back injury, Suryakumar Yadav hasn’t found his mojo in ODI cricket batting. Suryakumar, the T20I batting sensation of 2022, has been dismissed twice in identical fashion against Australia – being trapped lbw on inswingers from Starc on his very first ball at the crease.
It has been 16 innings since Suryakumar got a fifty in ODIs. But Rohit called for calm and backed Suryakumar to shine in the format while adding that he will be given a consistent run to come good and find his footing in 50-over cricket.
“We don’t know about Iyer’s return. At this point in time, there is a spot available so we have to play him (Suryakumar). He has obviously shown a lot of potential with white-ball and I have said it many times before, guys with potential will be given some run.”
“Of course, he knows that he needs to do while in a slightly longer format of the game as well. Things are there in his mind as well. Like I said, guys with potential will have enough run where you know they should not feel that ‘Okay, You know I wasn’t given enough chances in that particular slot’.”
“Yes, he got out in the last two games and (in) the series before that as well. But he needs that consistent run, like back-to-back games, 7-8 or 10 games like that so that he feels more comfortable. Right now, he has got in the place when someone’s been injured or someone’s not been available.”
“That doesn’t solve the purpose, because as management we can’t look into the performance too much. When you give that consistent run and then you feel that okay, the runs are not coming and (he’s) not looking comfortable. Then, we will start thinking about it. Right now, we have not gone that route.”