Australia lost the first ODI against India in Chennai in a rain-interrupted affair. India set up a target of 282 but due to the rain intervention between the innings, the visitors were asked to chase down 164 from 21 overs as per DLS method. Australian skipper Steve Smith expressed that chasing 160+ with new balls at either end is not easy.
“It was never going to be easy chasing 160 with two new balls. I think 160 with one new ball would have made things a lot easier. When you have two new balls from both ends, as you saw the whole game, we took three wickets with the new ball and they found it quite hard. It was the same for us,” said Steve Smith as quoted by Indian Express.
“When you are playing 20 overs, you don’t have a great deal of time to make things up. You need eight an over basically from ball one. It was difficult in that aspect. Perhaps we could have been a little bit more defensive at the start, keep wickets in hand and went harder later,” he added.
Dropped chances hurt Australia
The Australia loss was heavily influenced by the dropped catches. The skipper himself put down Rohit Sharma early in the innings and then let go a difficult chance of Hardik Pandya who went to score 83 runs that took India to a substantial score after a poor start.
“You always want to take your catches. I obviously dropped one early and one that sort of yorked me as well – the Hardik Pandya’s one, I couldn’t get my hands underneath it. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to capitalise on what was a very good start. 5 for 87 and then I think it was 6 for 206 (205). That partnership [between Dhoni and Pandya] turned out to be a match-winning one. I thought MS and Hardik played very well,” Smith mentioned.
The Australian pacers were all over the Indian top-order initially. Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey were removed pretty soon and that happened due to the tight lines outside the off stump. But the visiting bowlers let the game drift away after the early dismissals and Pandya and MS Dhoni went on to stitch the decisive partnership.
“I think we probably we went away from our plans a little bit. We were hitting such a good length and certainly persisted with that for a while with the good bouncers we were bowling. We were trying too many things, too many slower balls, just not hitting that good hard length we were hitting early on. That partnership changed the game. They put 120 odd (118) and took them from 87 to 206 (205). In the end that proved to be a match-winning partnership,” he added.