Chennai: Australia skipper Steve Smith accepted the fact that his team wasn’t able to execute their plans against India in the first ODI in Chennai but also promised to stage a fightback the next time they face the hosts, in Kolkata on September 21.
At the post-match presentation ceremony, the Australian skipper said, “Would have been nice to have won the game. But it’s the first in a five-match series and four (games are) left in the series. Would need to win three to win the series. (We) got to come back hard in a couple of days’ time. It did not work out as we would have liked. Hopefully, we would turn things around in Kolkata.”
He further added, “The rain came and it was obviously never going to be easy chasing 160 with the new balls. We could have perhaps played a little bit differently and try to take a little bit more time upfront. We have to get better with our plans.”
After the rain, the match was reduced to 21 overs and the Australians were given a revised target of 164.
They had initially had established total control over the match with Nathan Coulter-Nile dismissing the top three Indian batsmen with very few runs on the board.
However, a 118-run stand between Hardik Pandya and Mahendra Singh Dhoni changed the complexion of the match completely as India were able to post a decent total on the board.
“They (Pandya and Dhoni) put a 120-odd and took them from 87 to 206. In the end, that proved to be a match-winning partnership. We started very well with the new ball but MS (Dhoni) and Hardik (Pandya) played very well,” said Smith.
The Australian captain also rued the mistakes and missed chances in the match, which also included a dropped catch by himself. He said, “It’s not ideal. You always want to take catches. I obviously dropped an early one and one that sort of yorked me. It was not ideal that we were not able to capitalise on what was a very good start (for us).”
He also revealed that he had planned to bowl Pat Cummins at the end but his plans couldn’t turn to reality as Dhoni was starting to free his arms and go for the big shots.
He said, “I had my plan to begin with Coulter-Nile and finish with (Pat) Cummins. But when they (India) lost Hardik, I thought Nathan could have come back and I wanted to go for the throat. Obviously, MS hit Jimmy pretty well in the end. Was not ideal but that’s cricket. MS is a quality player and dangerous at the end.”
Smith also hinted at the fact that the reduction in the number of overs also reduced his team’s chances of winning the game.
“It’s always nice to get the full 50 overs in. That’s what we are here to play. But I think it was raining pretty hard at that point when we were off. 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, they found it hard. It was the same for us. You don’t have a great deal of time to make things up. Perhaps, we could have been a little bit more defensive at the start and go a bit harder,” said Smith.
With the growing buzz around the Australian team practising hard to tackle the Indian, wrist-spinners, Smith said that they have been facing fast bowlers as well.
He said, “We certainly have not been focusing only on wrist spin. We have been facing fast bowlers and other net bowlers. India have some quality seamers as well. We have not been just focusing on that, I can assure you that.”
The 28-year-old who is also a crucial part of the Australian batting said that they were aware of the knuckle ball but the regular loss of wickets is what dented their run-chase.
“I think they have seen it now. Guys knew what they were going to come with it. Maybe, watched a bit of the series in Sri Lanka, where they bowled quite a few (knuckle balls). (It) was not any surprise to us. Batting for 20 overs is difficult when you are losing wickets,” he said.
Five match series: Sutherland says that this could be last
James Sutherland, the Chief Executive, Cricket Australia (CA) said that the ongoing India-Australia five-match ODI series might as well be the last of it’s kind as work is being done begin a global league.
He confirmed that if the plans of a 13-team ODI league works out, then bilateral ODI series in the future might not have more than three matches, according to a report from, ‘cricket.com.au.’
Said Sutherland, “I don’t think you’ll see any country playing more than three one-day matches in a series in the future.”
“They might intersperse them with some Twenty20 matches as well, but I don’t think you’ll see many five-match one-day series … if the plans at ICC level unfold for a Test championship and a one-day league,” he also added.
Sutherland further stated that the individual boards would be free to plan their own bilateral series.