Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today hit out at his fielders for conceding easy boundaries at crucial junctures as Australia took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series with a three-wicket win.
“It’s tough to take. We didn’t field well tonight. There were at least three boundaries we should have easily stopped,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Visiting team’s bowlers produced another sloppy performance to allow Australia chase down the target of 296 with 1.1 overs still remaining. Virat Kohli hit a run-a-ball 117 en route his 24th ODI century, but Glenn Maxwell put paid to India’s hopes of an elusive win with 96 off 83 balls.
“(Barinder) Sran didn’t have a good day, so it became difficult for himself, and I couldn’t rotate the bowlers,” the India skipper said.
He was happy with the way his batsmen showed up.
“The batsmen are working hard, but we’re always talking about 10-15 extra runs. This was a slightly different wicket, but there was not much the batsmen could have done. 295 was a good total.
“Rishi and Gurkeerat bowled well, so we somewhat covered up for Ashwin’s absence. There is some encouragement, it is tough when you lose games but you have to realise the bowling attack is largely inexperienced. It’s good to see Ishant bowl well in the middle, but when there’s a bit of pressure, the fast bowlers leak runs.”
Australia skipper Steven Smith praised his bowlers for restricting India within 300 runs.
“We did well to keep them down to 295. They bowled well in the middle, lost a few wickets in clumps before the Maxwell show. It was great to see him bat the way he did today. He scores so fast playing normal cricket shots, he’s got all the shots. He plays so beautifully when he hits the ball in the right areas. Hopefully, he’ll keep doing that.
“If I have my time over again, I may have batted first today. I didn’t anticipate it to get so dry in the end. There’s still room for improvement though.” Man of the Match Maxwell called it an amazing win.
“I was speechless at the end, an amazing win. They got a good score, to chase that down with James Faulkner in the end is unbelievable. I feel like I’ve been making big strides over the last few months.
“The way I’m hitting the ball and approaching the game is different to what I’ve been doing over the last few years. It’s unfortunately not much of a break until Canberra, so maybe we’ll have a small celebration tonight,” Maxwell said.