India vs Australia 2020-21: Virat Kohli and KL Rahul all praise for Aussies after ODI series defeat
India suffered a 51-run defeat in the second One-Day International to Australia, in Sydney, on Sunday. It was India's fifth consecutive ODI loss, while they have now lost the series. The Indians would now aim to avoid a whitewash in the final ODI, in Canberra, on Wednesday.
Hosts Australia came up with a thumping performance to tame visitors India in the second One-Day International (ODI) at the Syndey Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday. It marked India's second consecutive ODI series defeat, while it was also their fifth successive match loss in the format.
Match summary: Winning the toss, Aaron Finch once again elected to bat first. The openers, David Warner and Finch, contributed to a 142-run opening stand, while five batsmen scored 50-plus. Steve Smith, who top-scored with 104, helped the side post 389/4. In reply, India did manage to build partnerships, with skipper Virat Kohli top-scoring with 89. Nonetheless, the scoreboard pressure took a toll on them, as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals, thereby falling short by 51 runs, while Pat Cummins claimed 3/67.
Meanwhile, following the game, Kohli, along with KL Rahul, admitted that they need to do better, especially with their bowling on flat tracks. The SCG track sprung a surprise this term, for being too batting-friendly, as more than 700 runs were scored last night, which was the highest on this ground.
"We were completely outplayed. I think with the ball, we were not that effective. We just didn't hit the areas that we wanted to consistently. And, they have got a pretty strong batting line-up, and they understand these conditions and pitches, and the angles on the field well," said Kohli after the defeat.
"We had to bowl in one area for long enough, and we didn't. We got to 340 and still fell short by 50, so the chase always felt a bit too steep. The areas they bowl, invariably they were in the position that some chances would be created. They used the dimensions of the field pretty well, which we, unfortunately, did not," Kohli added.
India's new vice-captain and wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul, too, agreed with Kohli on the same. "I wouldn't agree with you when you say it is struggling. The challenge for bowlers is to adapt quickly. Sometimes, you have to sit back and accept that the opposition batsmen have played really well. We haven't done a whole lot wrong, but it is a learning for us to sit back and think of how we can do better when we play on such good batting wickets," he said.
"The mood in the camp has been, and is, still very positive. Sometimes, as teams, you learn to accept that the opposition played better cricket. It is home conditions for them. They played better cricket. We have played 50-over cricket after a long, long time, so yeah, still a long way to go on the tour. But, we are doing a lot of things right. Just need to learn how to bowl better on such beautiful batting surfaces. That is the learning. Not a lot we have done wrong. So, we need to get better with our skills and execution and need to figure out what best can we do on such wickets," added Rahul.
Rahul was also notable of pacer Jasprit Bumrah's current form, who is struggling to adapt himself quickly, as per the conditions, of late. "Look, we all know Jasprit is quite fiery and he is very very competitive on the field. And, he has very high expectations of himself. And, New Zealand was a long, long time ago. I am sure he sets the bar very high… he means a lot to this team and to this set-up and we know the value of Japsrit," he asserted.
"It is about time a champion player like that will come back and deliver, and get wickets for us. You also have to understand that New Zealand and Australia, the wickets are so good to bat on. You will see top bowlers not getting wickets [once in a while]. So, that is acceptable," reckoned Rahul.
One of the surprise elements from India's perspective was when pace-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya was handed the ball, as he managed to claim 1/24 in four overs. Pandya had refrained himself from the bowling of late, since recovering from his back injury.
Speaking on Pandya's comeback, Rahul said, "Refreshing, isn't it? If he starts bowling, then, it is a load off the skipper and the team. We need all-rounders for the team balance. He quite enjoyed it himself. He loves to get into contests and he is itching to go."