Steve Smith frustrated by Australia's failure to build on good starts

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Steve Smith frustrated by Australia's failure to build on good starts

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SportsCafe Desk


Steve Smith is understandably not happy with the way Australian middle-order failed to cash in on the batting template provided by him and Aaron Finch. The Aussie skipper, though, didn’t mince any words while praising Hardik Pandya, who played a fantastic 78-run knock to help India squeak home.

After losing the first three of the five-match ODI series, Australia’s winless streak had stretched to eight games and the dream of winning an ODI series in India for the first time since 2009 had been nipped in the bud. Skipper Steve Smith’s frustration was very understandable as in all three games, the Australians were in a strong position, but they simply let go of the advantage each time. Yesterday was another dismal illustration of the absence of the much-fabled “Aussie spirit” as despite Finch's eighth ODI hundred and Smith's own half-century powered the visitors to 224 for 1 in the 38th over, they were restricted to a sub-300 score on a pitch where 330 would have been par

"I probably thought our first probably 38 overs with the bat was very good. That was kind of the template we were trying to set. Two guys in the top four going on - one guy to get a hundred obviously, and the others bat around. We just weren't able to execute it in the back end. I think that was probably... we got 69 off last 74 balls, lost 5 wickets. If we got to 330-340, which we probably should have done, things certainly could have been different,” Smith said in the post-match press conference.

"That's probably a bit of a trend for this format and Test format as well. We are quite often getting ourselves in good positions but not taking advantage of those. It’s just hard to put your finger on it, what we are actually doing or not doing to get the results we are after."

Smith, himself, has been at the receiving end of a lot of flak due to his alarming dip on the field in this series. The skipper, who put down Rohit Sharma in Chennai and then Bhuvneshwar Kumar in Kolkata, dropped Pandya at a crucial juncture of the chase with India still needing 77 to win off 79. The life given by Smith allowed Pandya, then on 41, to score a 72-ball 78, which eventually proved to be the difference.

"At the moment, my catching hasn't been good enough," Smith lamented. "I think I've dropped one in every game I've played so far [in this series]. I've been working hard, just might need to work a little bit harder to try and set the standard. It went in the air and was swirling a little bit, a fair bit of spin on the ball. I expect myself to take those chances. If I get my hands to the ball, I expect to catch them."

However, Smith didn’t restrain from praising the Indian batsmen and their approach during the run chase. "I thought we set it up beautifully with the bat to launch at the back end, but I thought the Indian bowlers executed really well and we executed poorly. We couldn't get the boundaries. A total in excess of 330 might have been a different result, but credit to India. Hardik was magnificent and Rohit and Jinks (Rahane) were fabulous too," Smith said.

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