After losing the rain-marred game, against India, by 26 runs, Steve Smith has blamed the usage of two new balls despite the game being reduced to only 21 overs. However, he didn’t shy away from accepting that the loss was more to do with the failure of the team to capitalize on the good start.
Rain arrived just after the Indian innings had ended which resulted in Australia's allotment of overs being reduced to 21 and their target to 164. This proved to be a double whammy for the visitors as the same inclement weather also helped create an ideal environment for the Indian seamers. While the Duckworth-Lewis method made sure that Smith's side had to tune into a T20 mindset, the second new ball skewed the situation in India's
"It was never going to be easy chasing 160 with two new balls. It was sort of a good new ball wicket to bowl with," Smith said. "We could have perhaps played a little bit differently and try to take a little bit more time upfront. It's always hard in 20 overs to judge that. We weren't good enough. Batting for 20 overs is difficult when you are losing wickets. Trying to go hard, it didn't work out as we would have liked. Hopefully, we would turn things around in a couple of days in Kolkata,” Smith said to reporters in Chennai, as reported by Cricbuzz.
"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. 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 harder later.
"Over the last 18 months, we haven't started well with the new ball, we haven't been able to draw things back. I thought we bowled to the conditions and bowled to the right areas."
Earlier, India had won the toss and decided to bat first, and for Australia, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pat Cummins started exceptionally well, bowling fast, on the ideal length and with enough movement to prompt errors from India's top four. Marcus Stoinis then followed up by picking up a couple victims to leave the Indian top order in tatters. However, those early gains gave way to more indifferent bowling as MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya stitched together a 118-run partnership. Pandya even hit leg-spinner Adam Zampa for 24 runs in a single over that included three back-to-back sixes and a single boundary and in hindsight, that wrested the momentum in India's
"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 hit early on," Smith said.
"The message to Zampa as well was to bring his length back a bit. He was bowling very full and Hardik looked like hitting every one of those for a six. As soon as he got his length back a bit and made him go across the ball, he got him out. He just bowled a fraction full and paid the price."
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